Calcutta, Oct. 17: The Mamata Banerjee government has directed all departments to file status reports on cabinet-cleared projects since it came to power in May 2011, the move in sync with the chief minister’s stress on fast-tracking schemes ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.
The cabinet secretariat, which reports to the chief minister, has instructed almost all departments to prepare status reports on projects the cabinet approved between its third meeting in June 2011 and the 50th session on May 27, 2013.
“The communication has been sent at the behest of the chief minister…. Although no deadline has been set for filing the status reports, it is clear from the communication that the chief minister wants the departments to pull up their socks and implement the projects at the earliest,” a Trinamul source said.
The move, senior state government officials said, was initiated after it was found that a number of projects that were expected to be completed before the Lok Sabha polls were yet to take proper shape.
For example, the Nayagram bridge in West Midnapore over the Subarnarekha river had been approved by the cabinet around two years ago but since then, only 17 pillars have been erected on the riverbed. According to officials, 43 pillars have to be erected. Work on the Amkola bridge in West Midnapore over the Kangshabati river is also progressing slowly.
Sources close to the chief minister said the tardy progress of the projects had irked Mamata as these are the “most prestigious” government schemes in West Midnapore.
“The chief minister was keen on delivering on her promises on time…. She feels that once the cabinet clears a project, the department concerned should start work immediately and complete it on time. This is the reason why the reminders were sent,” a minister said.
Senior government officials told The Telegraph that departments tend to dither on projects as no deadlines are set even after cabinet clearance.
“If a project is considered urgent, work starts without securing cabinet approval. Later, the project is mentioned in the cabinet for official reasons. This is the reason why departments go easy on projects with no deadlines,” an official said.
“But the chief minister wants all projects cleared by the cabinet to be given the same importance,” a Trinamul sources said. He added that Mamata wanted to complete some major projects before the Lok Sabha polls. According to him, the party has upped the ante against the UPA II government in the run-up to the elections.
“But criticising the Centre alone will not help as the chief minister wants to prove that she has done her bit…. That’s why the status reports have been sought so that the departments swing into action,” the Trinamul leader said.