The Trinamul Congress on Monday alleged that the Centre has imposed an 'economic blockade' against the West Bengal government by blocking funds for schemes like MGNREGA and PM Awas Yojana as it demanded an immediate payment of the dues.
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in response alleged corruption in handling of the central funds in the state and said a CBI enquiry has been ordered into the matter.
Raising the issue in Lok Sabha during the Zero Hour, TMC's Sudip Bandyopadhyay said that an amount of around Rs 18,000 crore is pending due to the state.
"Under MGNREGA, (PM) Awas Yojana, National Health Mission, all money allocated by government of India has been blocked since (sic) last two years, amounting up to Rs 18,000 crore," the TMC MP said.
He also said that TMC MPs had come to meet the Minister of State for Rural Development Niranjan Jyoti in Delhi but she left without meeting them, and the lawmakers were later forcibly removed from the ministry's premises.
"We MPs and our ministers came to Delhi to meet the honourable Minister, not Cabinet Minister, the Minister of State. Surprisingly, we kept waiting for two hours in the waiting hall, we were offered tea. Finally, when we went for the meeting, she left...We were lifted bodily, and were taken 20 kms away from Delhi," he said.
"We demand that MGNREGA allotment, Awas Yojana allotment should be sent to the state government without delay. We are keen to place our demand to the PM of India... and hope this issue would be discussed on the floor of the House, and economic blockade should not be allowed," Bandyopadhyay said.
Responding to the TMC MP, Dharmendra Pradhan alleged corruption on part of the state administration.
"They take money meant for the poor people of West Bengal from the central government, they keep their cut money, that is the reason. All states in the country remain in the financial system, Bengal thinks it is above it, the state government thinks they are above it," Pradhan said.
"I want to mention on the floor of the House, in the PM Poshan Yojana - Mid Day Meal, they have misappropriated Rs 4,000 crore. The Government of India has given an inquiry to CBI, everything will come out," he said.
"They loot poor people's money... half of their ministers are in jail. They are scared their leadership will go to jail," Pradhan added.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and party MLAs, MPs and ministers, along with those engaged in MGNREGA work, had staged a protest at Rajghat in Delhi on October 2.
The next day, they staged a protest at Jantar Mantar here, after which they marched to the Rural Development Ministry housed in Krishi Bhawan.
The delegation from the TMC, which governs West Bengal, was to meet MoS Rural Development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti. However the Minister left without meeting the delegation.
The Rural Development Ministry has said that funds for West Bengal has been on hold since March 9, 2022, as per a provision under Section 27 of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, which stipulates measures in case there is non-compliance of directives of the central government.
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