'No utilization certificates by Dispur, no more Central funds'
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, February 17: Assam is teetering on the brink of an economic crisis, the BJP today warned, citing the lack of accountability on the part of the State government in spending Central funds, which may prompt New Delhi to scrap Central schemes.
BJP MP from Guwahati Bijoya Chakraborty today said if the State plunges into an economic crisis, the Chief Minister should be blamed for it.
“There is no accountability whatsoever regarding spending of Central funds. The State has failed to furnish utilization certificates in a number of cases. This attitude of the State government has prompted the Centre to contemplate slashing funds. It should come as no surprise if schemes like MGNREGA are scrapped,” she said.
Chakraborty dismissed claims by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi that the Central government has slashed funding to the State.
Reacting to a recent statement by Gogoi that the Centre has not released a single paisa to Assam for flood relief and magement efforts last year, she said, “Nothing can be farther from the truth.”
Following the floods last year, a central team led by Home Minister Rajth Singh had visited the State.
“An ex gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh was announced to the next of kin of the deceased victims and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Thus, an amount of Rs 170 lakh was released to the State government in respect of 85 deaths due to floods. But it is not yet known whether the State government has disbursed this amount to the beneficiaries. The utilization certificates (UCs) are yet to be received,” she claimed.
In October last year, an amount of Rs 144 crore was released by the Centre under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF). “But the State government has apparently not released this amount under SDRF to the affected districts. UCs have not been submitted as yet,” the BJP MP claimed.
“The Chief Minister only cares to ask for money. But he is not concerned about spending it properly,” Chakraborty said.
According to the MP, the Central government has also considered the concept note on ‘Assam Flood, Erosion and River Magement Modernization Project’ prepared by the Government of Assam. “This was examined by the Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) in consultation with Central Water Commission (CWC). The CWC held a special meeting with World Bank officials to discuss the project on April 30 last year in which officials of the State government also participated. The project was qualitatively improved through detailed examition and discussions at the level of CWC chairman. The proposal was approved in principle by the MoWR in September 2014. The DoNER Ministry has also given its concurrence to this proposal. “The State government now needs to pursue the proposal for World Bank funding with the NITI Aayog for investment clearance and DEA for further examition,” Chakraborty said.
She said revenue generation by the State government is on the wane due to rampant corruption in the revenue earning departments.