Outgoing Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi has described his experience in West Bengal as “sweet and sour”, maintaining that education and law-and-order situation in the state should to be improved to ensure its overall progress.
Tripathi, who has had several run-ins with the Trinamool Congress government during his five-year stint, said “somehow” industrialists were not keen on investing in the state despite the government’s sincere efforts in that direction.
“My experience as the governor of West Bengal is sweet and sour, with more on the sweeter side. Sour in the sense that sometimes what was happening in West Bengal was not to my liking,” he told PTI.
“I think things can be improved here, when it comes to law and order, in educational matters, in maintaining autonomy of universities, upgrading the status of primary and middle-level education and bringing about industrial growth,” Tripathi said.
The governor has also said on Saturday the alleged “appeasement policy” of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was adversely “affecting” the social harmony of the state.
Asked about his opinion about the reasons for the state, which was once among the most advanced, to trail behind others, Tripathi said it had started during the tenure of the earlier governments.
“Calcutta was really the main business centre of the country. Jute, tea, garments, paper, automobile and so many flourishing industries were here,” he said. “But somehow, a situation so developed that people either were dissatisfied or did not get enough incentive. Therefore some industries chose to shut down and expected business did not come.”
Referring to the major agitations in the state, the governor said some of these protests had not resulted in fulfilment of the objective. “In fact, they (protests) failed. And these had an adverse effect on the industry. Now, the government is trying to restore the position,” he said.
Asked whether he was referring to the Singur agitation that had resulted in the exit of the Tata Motors from West Bengal, Triptahi said: “You see it is not a matter related only to the Tata’s exit. It is about gaining the confidence of industrialists as a whole so that they invest in West Bengal.”
The governor said the government should have acted timely to tackle the recent hunger strike by the primary teachers of state-run schools over pay hike.
“The teachers had some genuine grievances, such as disparity in pay scale. All that became a cause of dissatisfaction. What else can they do other than agitate?” he asked.
Tripathi officially completed his tenure on July 23 and Jagdeep Dhankar will sworn in as the new governor on Tuesday.
Asked about his plans after retiring and returning to his home town Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, Tripathi said he might get back to legal practice, write his biography or take up social work.
Tripathi, who is scheduled to leave the city on Sunday, said he would keep visiting the state.
“West Bengal is a good place, Calcutta in particular. I like the city and its people. It has encouraged me to write more poetry, more than what I used to write earlier,” he said.