JHARGRAM:West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asserted that the Centre should immediately bring a law to protect the land rights of the nation’s tribal population by disallowing the transfer of their plots to those belonging to non-tribal communities.

Banerjee, who was here to attend the International Tribal Day programme in the district’s Junglemahal area, also said that her government, through its schemes, seeks to support people across all strata of the society.

“Beneficiaries of the ‘Lakhi Bhandar’ scheme, which aims to provide basic income support to the female heads of the family, would start receiving the dole from September 1. Also, the ‘Duare ration’ (ration at doorsteps) scheme would be initiated soon, maybe in a month or two,” she said.

The state government believes in taking along everybody and doesn’t differentiate on the lines of caste, creed or religion, the CM maintained.

“The rights of the tribals have to be protected. We have taken all steps for the development of the tribal communities of our state. Nearly 95 per cent of the tribal population in Jhargram has received benefits from state government schemes. We have also created a separate department for the welfare of tribals and to ensure their land rights are protected. Tribal land cannot be transferred in Bengal. A similar law to protect the land rights of tribals across the country should be passed by the Centre,” she said.

Banerjee, in 2018, had announced that the state government would never seize Adivasi land.

Several eminent tribal personalities were felicitated here by the CM during the day, after which she put on her dancing shoes and matched steps with the local women.

The TMC boss was also seen playing Dhamsa (a traditional percussion instrument) on the occasion.

Banerjee, during the visit — her first since the TMC stormed back to power earlier this year — listed various developmental projects floated by her government over the past decade to develop the Junglemahal region.

“We have built super-specialty hospitals, colleges, universities in the region.

Our government has officially recognised the Alchiki language.

The ‘Duare Sarkar’ (government at doorsteps) project has also been a huge hit in this area.

“Through ‘Duare Sarkar’ (which ensures delivery of government scheme benefits), we have reached out to more than three crore people,” she said, adding that the programme would be initiated twice every year.

Banerjee thanked the people of Jhargram for “their blessings” during the last assembly polls.

“I want to thank all of you for your blessings.

If we have committed any mistake, we will rectify it,” she said.

The BJP had made deep inroads in the Junglemahal area during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by bagging five of the six Lok Sabha seats spread over the four districts of West Midnapore, Jhargram, Purulia and Bankura.

However, riding on various populist measures and pro-people schemes, the TMC made an astounding comeback in the 2021 assembly polls by bagging 29 of the 40 assembly segments in the region.