Setting the stage for a showdown, the Trinamool Congress will hold a two-day protest in the national capital on October 2 and 3 over pending dues to two flagship Rural Development schemes. However, Union Minister Giriraj Singh has asserted that the Centre was holding back funds only in case of irregularities.
According to the West Bengal Government, the Union Rural Development Ministry has not paid ₹15,000 crores under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) to the State. In both cases, the Union Government found a series of irregularities and accused the State of flouting guidelines.
On the sidelines of the second National Seminar on Social Audit of Rural Development when asked about the Trinamool’s impending protest, Mr. Singh said, “There are no issues in fund disbursement. The Union Government holds back funds only for the States where there are irregularities in the implementation of the scheme.”
The Trinamool, meanwhile, is preparation for the protest, has instructed all MPs, MLAs, and Panchayat leaders to be present in Delhi. It will also bring 2,000-3,000 beneficiaries who have been denied wages or were not paid their entitlement for the PMAY houses. The party has also mobilised 50 lakh letters from the beneficiaries addressed to both Mr. Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party, from its official X handle, posted a picture of several cartons lying on the road.
“People of Bengal are raising their voice against injustice. @BJP4India has ruthlessly withheld ₹15,000 crore due to Bengal under the MGNREGA and Awas Yojana. Those adversely impacted have written letters to the PM @narendramodi seeking their rightful dues,” Trinamool’s National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee. He added that West Bengal was determined to claim “what’s rightfully ours”.
Trinamool MP Derek O’ Brien accused the Modi Government of practising “transactional federalism” and penalising States for political reasons.