Kolkata : West Bengal Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Saturday dashed off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, accusing the state government of siphoning and diverting funds allocated by the Union Ministry of Rural Development for central government schemes.
“Siphoning & diverting funds allocated by the Union Ministry of Rural Development for each & every central govt scheme has been the trademark of WB Govt.
“This has become an ongoing and continuous process. Very often news reports keep surfacing that novel kinds of means and ways are being adopted to carry out corrupt activities and swindle money granted through these schemes for public welfare,” Adhikari said in the four-page letter.
“MGNREGA funds are being utilised for plantation of saplings, mangrove saplings and other varieties of fruit-bearing plants as well. 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. At the time of inspection, it is being claimed that the plants have been washed away in cyclonic storms like Yass and Amphan or other natural calamities. Even the naturally grown plants are shown as planted through man-days created under MGNREGA, ” he mentioned in the letter.
Alleging that MGNREGA has been turned into a money-minting scheme by the local level ruling party functionaries, the BJP MLA from Nandigram said, ” As of now, central teams are surveying some panchayats in Bengal and you would be astonished to know that this has made panchayat representatives and authorities nervous. Many panchayat offices are functioning in the dark hours of the night, not for the welfare of the people, but for moving and shifting documents that would incriminate them eventually if they find their way to the central team members. “
“They have deliberately changed the original names of the central schemes and used their own whimsical names instead for such schemes. Only when a central inspection/audit team visits a certain location, the local authorities change the nameplate or the signboard overnight to misguide the vising team into believing that the due compliance has been adhered to, ” he stated.
Adhikari alleged that even natural calamities such as Cyclone Amphan & Yaas and health disasters such as the Covid pandemic have been used to “extract illicit money through corrupt means” by “misusing” relief distribution and pandemic purchase.
“Be it mangrove saplings or fruit-bearing plants, crores of rupees are being defrauded in this manner, ” he added.
It might be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met the Prime Minister in New Delhi on Friday, seeking the release of GST and other outstanding dues.