Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has sent a strongly-worded letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking the Central government to immediately release the state’s dues for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and PM Awas Yojana.
“I am writing to bring an urgent matter to your kind attention. It is very astonishing that the Government of India is not releasing funds to West Bengal for MGNREGA and PM Awas Yojana,” read the opening lines of the letter, a copy of which is available with IANS.
In the letter, she said that wage payment under MGNREGS in West Bengal is pending for more than four months as the Union government has held back around Rs 6,500 crore, out of which Rs 3,000 core was on account of wage liabilities and around Rs 3,500 crore was on account of non-wage liabilities.
She also pointed out that in PM Awas Yojana, West Bengal ranks first in the country and over 32 lakh houses have been constructed in the state under this scheme.
According to the Chief Minister, in spite of this performance, fresh allocations of funds to West Bengal are pending with the Union Ministry of Rural Development and hence, a long list of beneficiaries is awaiting sanction in the state.
“Considering the significance of the projects and the hardships being faced by the common people, I would request you for your immediate intervention and direction to the ministry to release the funds without any further delay,” the letter said.
On Thursday morning too, Banerjee, while addressing the Annual General Meeting of West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) Officers’ Association at the newly-renovated iconic Town Hall in Kolkata, attacked the Union government for not releasing funds for the state government under MGNREGS.
“Because of these dues, often payments of wages under MGNREGA are getting stuck or delayed. As it is, the people are suffering due to massive increase in the prices of essential commodities. Lives of people become further miserable if they do not get payment for the work done,” she said.
However, senior BJP leader, Rahul Sinha claimed that the Chief Minister is not giving correct figures. He also alleged that the state government often spends the money allocated for one head on other heads, which results in the paucity of funds under the head it was allocated.