The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Centre funds rap

Malda, March 29: Union minister for rural development Shanta Kumar today took the state government to task for poor utilisation of funds and said all Central directives in this regard were being ignored.

“It is unfortunate that a few states, including West Bengal, have ignored our directive to form vigilance-cum-monitoring committees to oversee the spending for schemes funded by the Centre. These committees, to be formed in each district, will be chaired by a member of Parliament, but Bengal is yet to send us a list of these MPs,” he said.

Kumar was addressing a gathering after an arsenic-free drinking water project in Kaliachak was inaugurated by Jyoti Basu. He said he had drawn the Prime Minister’s attention to Bengal and some other states not properly utilising Central funds. “The Prime Minister has asked me to write to the chief ministers once again,” he said.

Bengal has spent only 42 per cent of its rural development funds. “We sent Rs 1,383 crore for the current financial year, and your state has spent just Rs 582 crore. What can be said about a government which cannot spend over Rs 800 crore for the development of its people'” he asked.

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