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Cloud over ‘best-spender’ Burdwan

Burdwan, March 5: The district’s claims of being the best in implementing Centrally-sponsored schemes have come under a cloud after a review last month showed that funds worth crores were not spent because of the government’s inability to provide its share of the money for the projects.

In an agenda note placed at a meeting held on February 8, the zilla parishad spelt out the amount of money that remained unspent under several ongoing schemes. The meeting was held to review the status of the schemes undertaken by the districts in the Burdwan range.

With the financial year drawing to a close, the district administration has stated that in schemes like the two-phased Swarozgar Gramin Rozgar Yojana, out of a total allotment of Rs 20.66 crore, the district has been able to spend only Rs 11.71 lakh.

In a report placed at the meeting, the zilla parishad cited non-availability of foodgrain from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and the non-availability of the state government’s share of funds as reasons for the schemes not being implemented in full.

In the Indira Awas Yojana, out of a total outlay of Rs 9.17 crore, only Rs 5.69 crore has been spent. In this scheme, too, the Centre had disbursed funds in two phases but the state failed to release its contribution for the second tranche sent from Delhi.

One of the worst hit Central schemes is the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana. In some cases, work on rural roads undertaken in 2000-’01 is yet to be complete. The work to be undertaken during 2002-’03 is not yet underway with the project report just about through.

For the 2001-’02 financial year, the plan was to construct 111 km of rural roads. Out of a sanctioned amount of Rs 23.91 crore for the project, only Rs 4 crore has been spent. The amount of work done can be understood.

According to Central rules, at the launch of each scheme the state has to share a portion of the funds. If the state government can show that it has spent at least 60 per cent of the first instalment, the second instalment is released. If the funds are not spent by the end of the financial year, it is sent back to the coffers in Delhi.

“There are problems and we are trying our best to get around them. We are striving to get all the schemes completed by the end of this month. We have asked the panchayat samities to get cracking,” said parishad chairman Ramkrishna Bandyopadhyay.

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