Cut down on unnecessary expenses, CM tells depts
KOLKATA: Stating that the Centre owes more than Rs 90,000 crore to the state, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday instructed her administration to cut down on unnecessary expenditure beyond the approved budget and not to take up any new project without the approval of the state Chief Secretary or the Finance department.
Banerjee chaired the state administrative review meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium in presence of the police top brass of both the city and the state and bureaucrats, including District Magistrates and departmental secretaries, where she reiterated that the state government should focus on executing the essential and emergency programmes that are directly related to the benefit of the common people and ensure proper implementation of those schemes, which are already going on.
"The Centre owes us more than Rs 90,000 crore. However, the state Finance department has released about Rs 74,000 crore this year to various departments and 84 per cent of the funds disbursed have been spent already. No projects, which are not approved in the budget, should be taken up. The approval from the state Chief Secretary and state Finance department will be mandatory for any project," Banerjee said. She added that the state's revenue collections have been hit by the Covid pandemic raging since the last two years.
Banerjee said many projects are running in the state while at the same time several infrastructure of the state government in connection with Krishak Bazar, Karmatirtha and Pathasathi have been lying unutilised. She instructed the District Magistrates to prepare a list of such unutilised infrastructure and identify reasons behind the same.
She asked them to submit a report to the Chief Secretary at an earliest. "These places can be a source of income and we have to explore such options," she added.
She made it clear that the state government will not be able to allocate Rs 100 crore in connection with the proposal to buy land for expansion of Malda Airport. "I cannot give Rs 100 crore (to the land losers). I may build houses for them, provide jobs but I cannot buy their land. I don't have that kind of money," Mamata said.
Banerjee reiterated that the model code of conduct related to elections poses no bar when it comes to continuity with the running projects.
Her assertions came after a senior government official pointed out that the elections in Kolkata Municipal Corporation area had slowed down the pace when it comes to the execution of Kanyashree II scheme in the city. The KMC elections were held in December last year.
She enquired about the status of a number of ongoing projects that the state will continue to fund like a temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath which is coming up at the popular seaside destination Digha in East Midnapore, a circuit tourism plan involving temples at Kachua and Chakla, both in North 24-Parganas, among others.