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Cash brakes

Burishole, Nov. 25: The development work started by the government in West Midnapore’s tribal belt after the encounter death of Kishan last year has come to a halt because of a funds crunch.

Residents of Burishole, where Kishan was gunned down on November 24 last year, said no work had taken place in the past six months.

To prevent a sympathy wave among residents of Burishole and its adjoining areas in favour of the slain Maoist leader, the government had announced a host of development projects, such as constructing an irrigation channel, laying a moram road, setting up a health centre, digging wells and sinking deep tube-wells.

Between January and May, the irrigation channel was constructed, a pond was dug and work on laying the moram road began. But since then, nothing more has been done because the forest department, entrusted with carrying out the development work, is facing a cash crunch, sources in the government said.

According to Ashok Singh, the divisional forest officer (DFO) of Jhargram, Rs 12 crore had been earmarked for the projects but only half of it has been released so far.

Western region development minister Sukumar Hansda said: “I had asked the forest department to give a report on how the Rs 6 crore given to them had been spent. We can release the rest of the money only after we receive the report.”

Told that the DFO had said the forest department had already submitted a detailed account of the expenses, Hansda said: “I’m not aware of it.”