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Team Careers360|Dec 8, 2023
NEW DELHI: Alleging a large-scale embezzlement of MGNREGA funds in West Bengal, Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh on Monday said the Centre is considering a CBI investigation into the issuance of "25 lakh fake job cards" in the state.
Singh's statement came on a day TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee along with party MLAs, MPs and hundreds of supporters sat on a dharna at the Rajghat in Delhi, demanding release of the MGNREGA and PM Awas Yojana funds for West Bengal.
"Issuing of 25 lakh fake job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) by the Mamta Banerjee-led West Bengal government is a scam. Why were the central funds siphoned off? And when the Center is conducting its own inquiry into the matter, the state government is not cooperating," Singh alleged.
"The West Bengal government and TMC leaders have indulged in large-scale misappropriation of central funds," he alleged. The Centre is least bothered about the TMC's protest in Delhi, the minister told reporters in Begusarai. "Funds are being released to all states. The Centre does not stop funds of any state. But, when irregularities take place in a particular state, we stop releasing funds," he said.
"The NDA government has so far released Rs 2.50 lakh crore to West Bengal," he said, without elaborating on the time frame during which the money was given. The Center also gave Rs 54,000 crore (till March 2022) to West Bengal under the PM Awas Yojana, he added.
"But, an inquiry by our officials revealed that a large number of houses under the PMAY were issued to ineligible beneficiaries in the state. Now, we will not allow this corrupt practice to continue in West Bengal," said the minister. Accusing the BJP-led NDA government of withholding Rs 15,000 crore in dues to the state under MGNREGA and PM Awas Yojana, the ruling TMC of West Bengal began a protest programme in Delhi.
Earlier in March, CM Mamata Banerjee held a two-day sit-in against the Centre for not releasing funds to the state for MGNREGA and other welfare schemes.
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