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Bengal CM Mamata Raises Non-payment of Funds for 100-day Work Scheme in Closed-door Meet with Shah

Union home minister Amit Shah was in Kolkata for the Eastern Zonal Council meeting on Saturday, where West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee held a closed-door meeting with him and is believed to have raised the issue of “non-release of funds” by the Centre for the 100-day work scheme over the past year. She handed over a letter to Shah with her demands in an interaction that lasted for around 15 to 20 minutes at the chief minister’s chamber in the state secretariat, ‘Nabanna’.

Sources said Banerjee expressed her difficulties as a massive amount of central funds are stuck. The Bengal government had not got a single penny for the 100-day work scheme since last December. A government official said no MGNREGA work had taken place.

Sources in the state government said approximately 17 lakh families are waiting to get jobs. Bengal has 1.08 crore active job cards, and 32 crore man days have been applied but no one has got a job yet. According to the NREGA Act, one should get a job within 15 days. A number of letter have been sent to the Centre in the last five months but nothing has been done about it, sources added.

West Bengal has received an allocation of 11,36,448 houses under PMAY-G scheme for the 2022-23 fiscal. Sources said last week another letter was sent to Centre about this.

Shah, however, told Banerjee, her counterpart from Jharkhand Hemant Soren, Bihar deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav and Odisha cabinet minister Pradeep Amat that they too shared a responsibility along with the BSF for security in India’s border areas.

Illegal infiltration, trans-border smuggling and the vulnerable India-Bangladesh boundary were among subjects discussed at the EZC meeting. Talks on transportation facilities and water-sharing among the states were also held.

The role of BSF was discussed, in the light of the increase in the operational area of the border force earlier this year. In response, according to sources, the home minister is believed to have indicated that the state governments too have a role to play in border security, according to sources.

The meeting also discussed resurgence of Maoist activities in Jharkhand-Odisha and Bengal. It was decided that states and Centre will pool real-time information on Maoist activities in the red zone in order to coordinate steps to neutralise the movement, officials said.

Banerjee also highlighted that arms were being smuggled into Bengal from neighbouring states and coordinated steps are needed to check this menace.

Shah, who is the chairman of the council, was accompanied by five home ministry officials at the meeting that began around 11 am and lasted for a little over two hours. The union minister is set to leave for Shillong following the meeting.

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