Bengal tops the country in MGNREGA implementation
West Bengal has been declared the best state in the country in imparting livelihood through convergence under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act ( MGNREGA) scheme.
The state has for the first time bagged six more awards in different categories for excellent work in rural development. Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Rural Development handed over the prizes at a function held at Vijnan Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday morning. Dibyendu Sarkar, commissioner, Panchayats and Rural Development Department took the award comprising a 24 carat gold plate for becoming the best state in imparting livelihood through convergence under MGNREGA.
This recognition demolishes the claim made by some BJP leaders including the party president Amit Shah that no rural development had taken place in West Bengal under Mamata Banerjee.
West Bengal has bagged awards in Dindayal Upadhyay National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna ( PMGSY). Two districts, Nadia and Cooch Bihar have been adjudged the best in their respective categories. While Nadia has been declared the best district in the country for excellent implementation in MGNREGA, Cooch Bihar has become the country's best district in Geo MGNREGA. This is for the first time that the Rural Development Ministry has started an award in this category. A district participating in the category had to submit a presentation before a committee headed by Satish Agnihotri who is attached to IIT Delhi. Then a team from the Centre made an on the spot visit following which the best district was selected.
It may be mentioned that after coming to power in the state chief minister Mamata Banerjee accorded topmost priority to rural development. Steps were taken to ensure that all rural homes have toilets by March 2019 and Nadia was the country's first Open Defecation Free (ODF) district. So far, six districts in West Bengal have been declared as ODF. Work is underway to provide drinking water to all rural homes and the chief minister has inaugurated construction of 25,000 km rural roads.
In Nadia district plantation of Vetiver grass to check soil erosion along the river christened Subujayan by Mamata Banerjee has attracted the attention of Vetiver experts throughout the globe. The state government has taken up a scheme to plant Vetiver along 730 km of the river bank in the district. Taking a cue from Nadia's success, East Midnapore district administration is also planting the grass to prevent soil erosion. Over 60 nurseries have been set up in Nadia to grow the grass.