Bengal Govt anxious over unspent rural development funds

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Kolkata, Jan 1 (IANS) With just three months left for the current financial year to end, unspent funds in certain districts granted under the 15th Finance Commission for rural development in West Bengal are giving the Trinamool Congress Government anxious moments.

The state government recently asked the District Magistrates to hold coordination meetings with the respective panchayat authorities to ensure that the unspent funds allocated for their districts are used diligently during the remaining three months of the current financial year.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s anxiety over the unspent funds has been heightened by the fact that the Opposition BJP has already started a campaign highlighting the fact that the ruling party has been attacking the Union Government for non-payment of central dues for work done under MGNREGA schemes despite the state government being unable to spend central funds provided for rural development.

At Rs 305.11 crore, Murshidabad district has the maximum unutilised funds lying with it, followed by South 24 Parganas at Rs 298,03 crore. The other districts where fund utilisation has been pathetically low are North 24 Parganas, Hooghly, East Burdwan, Birbhum and Nadia, where the unspent funds are to the tune of Rs 100 crore.

The utilisation of funds for rural development projects is done mainly through the two tiers of the three-tier panchayat system in West Bengal, namely Zilla Parishad and Gram Panchayats.

The Opposition parties are claiming that there was lack of monitoring which led to the accumulation of unspent funds in the last quarter of the current financial year.

They are also pointing out that by neglecting this important area the state government has actually deprived the rural population of their legitimate dues.



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