Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Saturday that terrorism, Maoist activities and irresponsible politics were hampering West Bengal’s development.

In his Independence Day address here, Mr. Bhattacharjee said that in Darjeeling, separatist forces were coming in the way of the region’s progress. “The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha was blocking a development plan for the hilly region.”

The Chief Minister also spoke of the drought situation in the country saying the State government was taking steps to help farmers. He hoisted the national flag in front of the Secretariat.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee observed a ‘Freedom at Midnight’ programme, unfurling the tricolour at a major city intersection close to her residence in South Kolkata. “This has been her routine for the last few years,” said Mukul Roy, Union Minister of State for Shipping.

Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi visited ‘Gandhi Ghat’ in Barackpore in North 24 Parganas district. He also went to Haidar-e-Manzil, the house on the city’s eastern side, where Gandhiji sat in a 73-hour-fast to stop communal riots in August 1947. The Governor placed wreaths at the statue of the Father of the Nation in central Kolkata. At the Aurobindo Bhavan, he placed a wreath at Sri Aurobindo’s statue to mark the birth anniversary of the revolutionary.

The Kolkata District Left Front, under the leadership of Biman Bose, formed a human chain to ‘protect and uphold democracy.’

The city witnessed subdued celebrations as an overcast sky, intermittent showers, the scourge of swine flu and a security threat to the city confined people indoors.

Hosts tea

A tea meet hosted by the Governor in the evening at the Raj Bhavan was attended by Mr. Bhattacharjee; the former Chief Minister, Siddhartha Shankar Ray; and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Partha Chatterjee, among others. Ms. Banerjee did not participate in the the meeting where the Chief Minister and Mr. Chatterjee exchanged courtesies, Raj Bhavan officials said.

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