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Eyeing rural polls, Mamata announces Rs 12,000 crore additional funds

The money will be allocated mostly for rural drinking water projects and roads.

kolkata Updated: Dec 04, 2017 20:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Kolkata, Hindustan Times
Mamata Banerjee,Funds,Polls
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the foundation stone laying ceremony of West Bengal Lagislative Assembly Platinum Jubilee Memorial Building in Kolkata on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Ashok Bhaumik (PTI11_29_2017_000172A)(PTI)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Monday an additional expenditure of Rs 12,000 crore for rural infrastructure, with an eye on next summer’s rural polls in the state.

The money will be allocated mostly for rural drinking water projects and roads.

The amount is substantial — 18.53% of the state’s total plan expenditure of Rs 64,733 crore for 2017-18.

“Often funds allotted to different departments remain unutilised. I have directed that these funds be used for development of rural roads and rural drinking water projects,” the chief minister said on Monday.

She said a committee led by the district magistrate will be formed in each district to identify the unutilised funds to be used for these projects.

The 2018 rural polls are considered a rehearsal before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The BJP has identified West Bengal as a focus state for the parliamentary polls and has stepped up its campaign in the Trinamool Congress-ruled state, where it intends to win about half of the 42 Lok Sabha seats.

The chief minister took a dig at the Union government for not releasing its share of central funds for her state. “The Centre is yet to release around Rs 13,714.32 crore. Despite these constraints we are trying our best for social welfare,” she said.

Banerjee alleged that the Centre has not provided any assistance for flood relief after the state recorded widespread floods this monsoon.

“The state government has paid compensation to the tune of Rs 185 crore to farmers for crop loss. We have allotted Rs 280 crore for providing pension to 2.5 lakh people,” she said.

She also announced that operations of e-office in every government department will start from January 2 next year.

“This will bring transparency, accountability and credibility. The Union government talks big on digitisation. But we have implemented digitisation at every step of the administration,” she said.

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 20:46 IST