A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking release of ‘outstanding’ Central funds to the state, a senior leader in BJP-Bengal on Saturday wrote to the prime minister flagging ‘rampant corruption & malpractices’ in the implementation of Centre’s schemes in the state.
Suvendu Adhikari, a BJP MLA, and leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, in his letter to PM Modi has alleged “misappropriation of central grants and funds” in the state for Center-supported schemes – namely, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
Adhikari stated that it’s a known fact, that earlier, payments for work that’s expected to be executed under rural jobs scheme, was being made without the jobs done, and instead “false” certificates on utilization were sent for justifying payments.
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A new way, alleges Adhikari, is being put to use for siphoning funds away. The funds, as being reported in the media – he states, are being used for planting saplings, mangrove saplings and other varieties of fruit-bearing plants. “On documents, it’s being claimed that thousands of hectares of land have been covered under the said initiative however the reality is strikingly far from it,” he stated in his letter. During inspection, it’s being said that plants have been washed away in cyclonic storms, and even plants growing naturally are being shown as planted through work provided under the scheme, he added.
Adhikari has further alleged involvement of local-level party functionaries. The “job card holders are either not paid properly for their efforts, or their cards are snatched away and kept by such corrupt representatives in connivance with the officials,” he stated. These cards are then used to fill details of “fake” jobs and show execution merely on paper, depriving the poor.
The BJP leader stated that the survey by central teams of some panchayats has left local body representatives, and authorities nervous. The state government and administration have not complied with guidelines concerning the implementation of schemes, and have renamed the same deliberately. The leader, besides raising other allegations, has requested that more central teams be sent to assess the situation of central funds in the state.
Banerjee, who is on a four-day New Delhi visit, on Friday met PM Modi, and submitted a letter on funds due at the Centre’s end. The chief minister claimed that the estimated dues to the state are worth around Rs 1,00,968.44. “With such a large amount of Rs 1,00,968.44 crore remaining outstanding on account of core sectors, you would no doubt appreciate that it is becoming extremely difficult for the state government to run the affairs and take care of the people of the state,” the CM stated.