After hitting headlines on lack of toilets and roping in filmstars Vidya Balan and Shah rukh Khan for campaign, Union minister of rural development Jairam Ramesh has got an “assurance” from the Planning Commission for a total allocation of a whopping Rs36,000 crores in the 12th five-year plan for Total Sanitation Campaign, which is now being restructured, against mere Rs7,816 crores in the 11th five-year plan.

In a move which may open a Pandora’s box for the Centre, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has sought coal at a special subsidised rate for local consumption from the Planning Commission. Ms Banerjee told Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia that since 80 per cent of coal is sourced from West Bengal, the state should be given the mineral at a special subsidised rate.

Sources said that the Planning Commission members were taken aback by the demand of the temperamental West Bengal chief minister, as the move if at all considered could lead to similar demands from other coal mining states like Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.

Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh appears to have set off a controversy with his remark, that “women demand mobile phones but not toilets”.

Wary of the National Food Security Bill meeting the fate of the Lokpal Bill, the Centre appears to have set a target of August 15 to unveil the law, with the hope that a political way out would be

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s flexing of the muscle appears to be yielding dividend, as the state after securing an economic package of `8,750 crores from the Centre is soon likely t

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s move to stall decision on the National Food Security Bill by writing a letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just on the eve of the Cabinet meeting appears to have been more for political reasons than any serious objections.

Sources in the food ministry said that the Cabinet note on the Food Bill had included four key demands of the West Bengal government, which were already agreed upon by the Centre.