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regular-article-logo Saturday, 22 June 2024

Mamata Banerjee urges deprived beneficiaries to join dharna in Calcutta from February 2

'I will request those who did not get money even after working under MGNREGA and those 11 lakh deprived beneficiaries of rural dwelling units (PMAY) to assemble under the Ambedkar Statue'

Snehamoy Chakraborty, Saibal Gupta Calcutta Published 01.02.24, 06:04 AM
Mamata Banerjee at a public service distribution programme in Malda on Wednesday.

Mamata Banerjee at a public service distribution programme in Malda on Wednesday. Picture by Soumya De Sarkar

Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged people, especially those affected by non-payment of funds under two major schemes — MGNREGA and PMAY —, to join her sit-in-demonstration from February 2 in Calcutta and directed Trinamul Congress leaders to ensure their transportation to the city from across the state.

"I was and will always be with you. I will request those who did not get money even after working under MGNREGA and those 11 lakh deprived beneficiaries of rural dwelling units (PMAY) to assemble under the Ambedkar Statue (On Red Road in Calcutta). Please spread this message (to participate in the sit-in) everywhere," said Mamata at her public distribution programme in Malda.

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The massive protest by Mamata with the beneficiaries will be the second such show by the ruling dispensation after her nephew and Trinamul national general secretary hit the streets in Delhi in October last year.

"Abhishek went to Delhi with 3,000 deprived job-card holders. Didi's show this time in Calcutta is likely to be bigger by multiple times," a Trinamul leader said

Wednesday's announcement by Mamata, a Trinamul source said, was an effort to make her sit-in-demonstration a big show to corner the BJP and use the platform to set the narrative of deprivation rolling again on the ground in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

"Didi's effort to connect thousands of affected beneficiaries of central schemes to her sit-in-demonstration is a clear political message that she will go all out to pitch the narrative of deprivation against the Narendra Modi government. Apart from calling them to Calcutta, the chief minister also connected her party's rank and file with the event from where she would give her further direction," said a Trinamul leader.

Within an hour of Mamata's speech in Malda on Wednesday, Trinamul leaders across Bengal were asked to prepare lists of deprived beneficiaries who would be brought to the city to join the demonstration.

"According to Didi's instruction, we have been trying to take deprived people of MGNREGA on February 2 and PMAY on February 3. However, we are waiting for the final and clear instruction from Calcutta," said a Trinamul leader in East Burdwan.

Mamata said she would continue to give benefits like MGNREGA and dwelling units in case the Narendra Modi government did not resume the flow of funds by Thursday.

"I am continuing a lot of welfare funds. I may not provide those benefits (MGNREGA and PMAY) completely, but will be certainly able to do the same partially," Mamata said.

She asked the district magistrates to share the lists of deprived beneficiaries with Trinamul leaders who would arrange the transportation of the affected population to Calcutta on February 2 and 3.

"Representatives of panchayats, panchayat samitis, zilla parishad, blocks and municipalities, and MLAs and MPs should escort them (beneficiaries) to B.R. Ambedkar Statue on the Red Road. They would bear the expenses of travel of their workers from their salaries. There is no need to collect money for providing small facilities," she added.

Responding to Mamata's plan for the sit-in demonstration, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, who was in New Delhi on Wednesday, rolled out statistics to show how the Trinamul government was involved in corruption with central funds.
He claimed the state government was involved in financial misappropriation worth nearly Rs 2 lakh crore between 2018 and 2011.

Majumdar referred to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), which said the state government had failed to submit 2.4 lakh utilisation certificates for projects worth Rs 1.95 lakh crore. In accordance with the guidelines, the government is obligated to furnish a completion report within one year of concluding a project.

“Of these certificates, 1.6 lakh, spanning from 2018 to 2021, pertain to three key departments: rural development, urban development, and school education. Notably, two of these three departments face the highest corruption charges, with the former education minister already incarcerated,” Majumdar said.

“As rural development faces serious corruption charges, the central government had to keep the MGNREGA funds on hold,” Majumdar added.

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