Subrata Mukherjee, minister for Panchayat and Rural Development on Monday criticised the Centre, for reducing funds meant for various projects. Talking to newsmen at a function in connection with Teachers’ Day at Uttam Mancha, he said the reduction of funds by the Centre had affected many projects seriously.
Funds have been drastically reduced in Indira Aabash Yojna, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme and Pradhanmantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY). Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already taken up the matter with the Centre.
It may be mentioned that in PMGSY, earlier, the Centre used to provide 90 per cent and the state government had to dole out 10 per cent along with maintenance of rural roads. Now, the Centre gives 60 per cent and the state’s share is 40 per cent along with maintenance of the roads. The state government had laid 10,655 km rural roads between 2011 and 2015. Because of sudden slash in fund allotment the state government is in real soup. Many projects have been virtually stalled due to need for money, Mukherjee maintained.
In the afternoon a meeting was held where the District Magistrates along with the Zilla Sabadhipatis attended. The principal secretary Panchayat and Rural development department, Sourav Das and the department’s commissioner Dibyendu Sarkar also took part in the day-long meeting.
The DM’s made presentations of the work done so far in the construction of toilets. The department is likely to declare East Midnapore and Hooghly, two Open Defecation Free (ODF) districts. Burdwan and South 24 Parganas will be declared ODF by March 31, 2017. The department has proposed to set up toilets in all rural household by March 2019.
It may be mentioned that Nadia became the country’s first district which was declared as ODF under Mission Nirmal Bangla. The officials of the department said the DMs had been asked to maintain the deadline for declaring their districts as ODF and make plans accordingly.