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Cong walks out of rural budget

Calcutta, July 16: The Assembly today passed the budget for panchayat and rural development amid a walkout by Congress MLAs who said the setting up of a nominated body at the gram sansad level was an attempt to control the lowest tier.

Last week, the government passed the West Bengal Panchayat (Amendment) Bill, 2003, to constitute gram unnayan samitis which, it said, would ensure that people participated in implementing development programmes, selecting beneficiaries and prioritising schemes to be undertaken by panchayats.

Initiating the budget debate, Congress Legislature Party leader Atish Sinha said forming the nominated body was a CPM ploy to control the gram panchayats. He said the government’s argument that it would help in decentralisation was an eyewash.

SUCI bandh

The SUCI has called a statewide bandh on August 21. The shutdown, the party said, was to protest the hike in electricity tariffs, education fees, hospital charges and introduction of capitation fees, among other issues.

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