West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Tuesday that the initiatives taken by her government will ensure that in a few years time the city will be known as not only the cultural capital of the country, but also that of the world.
Speaking at the inauguration of Rabindra Tirtha, a cultural complex dedicated to Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, on the occasion of his death anniversary, Ms. Banerjee announced a slew of projects that the Culture department of the State government has proposed.
Ms. Banerjee, who holds the Information and Cultural Affairs portfolio, had created a stir when the budgetary allocation for the department was increased by 125 per cent to Rs. 110 crore earlier this year. The significant increase in budgetary allocation to the department was made at a time when Ms. Banerjee has repeatedly emphasised that the State is hard pressed for funds and claims that its payments on interest exceed its income.
“Last year during the celebrations of the 150 birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, I had wanted to set up a Rabindra Angan in the heart of the city. For that we would have needed help from the Centre, but months had gone by and there was no response, so I thought we should go ahead and set up this complex,” Ms. Banerjee said about the Rabindra Tirtha complex to be set up in Rajarhat on the north-eastern fringes of the city.
Ms. Banerjee said that the complex will have an exhibition of Tagore’s paintings, archives, a research centre, an auditorium and dormitories for students opting to conduct their research here. She said that it would be ensured that the ambience of the complex was in consonance with the poet’s ideals.
“Once it comes up, you will not be able to distinguish between here and Santiniketan,” she said.
Ms. Banerjee also said that a similar Nazrul Tirtha dedicated to the memory of the revolutionary poet, Kabi Nazrul Islam, will also come up in Rajarhat. An auditorium in the memory of poet, playwright and musician Dwijendralal Ray will also come up in the city, she said. The Chief Minister also said that a convention centre of international standards, along the lines of Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, will be made in the State.
At the event, Ms. Banerjee also inaugurated the Rajarhat campus of Techno India College of Technology.