When asked about the CM’s claim, Union Minister Sisir Adhikari said the state has failed to submit the utilisation certificates for the past two months. The Left Front government has not followed the rules and procedures for submitting the accounts of the Central scheme meant for the rural poor, he said.
Addressing a rally of CPM-backed Panchayat Employees Union, the CM on Tuesday said, “The allegations that the (state) government has failed to submit the accounts properly are false. We have placed the accounts properly.”
Adhikari, reacting to the CM’s view on phone, said the district officials of West Bengal have admitted failure in following guidelines. He said the state Rural Development department has officially written to him that only 56 per cent of the total funds allotted for West Bengal have been utilised.
“A few days ago the state minister (Rural department) also wrote me stating that as there was lack of proper mechanism for preparing the utilisation papers at the village level, they failed to submit utilisation report in time,” said Adhikari.
Anisur Rehman, state Rural Development Minister said that Adhikari’s complaints are politically motivated. He said Adhikari is trying to block Central funds allotted for the state.
“Sitting in Delhi, he is working against the interest of the state. We have submitted all requisite paper for further release of funds earmarked for MNREGS. His allegations are baseless,” said Rehman.
Sources said the release of MNREGS funds depend on two things which the state has failed to follow. First, demand should be placed to the Union government on the basis of schemes finalised. Secondly, unlike other Central schemes, the state should submit 100 per cent utilisation certificates.
“The state government has failed to follow both the guidelines for MNREGS,” said Adhikari.
Meanwhile, the CM on Tuesday admitted that in Maoist-hit West Midnapore district, panchayat activities have collapsed. And hence, the funds allotted for the poor in these areas have been siphoned in the past few months, he said.
“The district magistrate has reported me that panchayat bodies in the area have become non-functional and the funds for various schemes siphoned at the village panchayat level,” Bhattacharjee said.