‘UPA playing politics over funds for rural jobs’

Kolkata, April 20 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Saturday blamed the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi for playing “sheer politics” by not yet releasing its share of the funds for the rural job scheme.

Bengal’s spending on the 100 days of jobs provided under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) was the country’s highest at Rs.4,408.70 crore, as against a total fund availability of Rs.4,108.03 crore, the chief minister claimed.

The rural job scheme provides 100 days’ wage employment to every household, whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

“Is it not sheer politics by the central government even over issues of astounding performance and development in Bengal,” asked the chief minister on social networking site Facebook, a day after complaining that West Bengal was being deprived by New Delhi.

“Even though we have performed so well and spent funds, the corresponding share to meet the gap between available funds and our expenditure is yet to be released by the centre,” Banerjee’s post said.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress leader Mukul Roy said the party MPs would stage a demonstration before Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in parliament house April 22 decrying the economic deprivation of the state.

Roy said the party would also organise a series of protests in Bengal and New Delhi, including in parliament over the alleged heckling of Banerjee and Finance Minister Amit Mitra in the national capital April 9 by the Students Federation of India (SFI) activists.

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