Amid the blow hot,blow cold relations between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party,Minister of State for Rural Development Arvind Kumar Singh Gope has blamed the Centre for blocking the funds to the state under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
It is a deliberate move on part of the Congress-led UPA government. It is politically motivated as they very well understand that a successful Akhilesh Yadav government will not be in their political interest. They are putting us in a tight spot. It is an election year and we are facing flak due to their apathy, Gope remarked. The flow of funds from the Centre over the last four years for the state in MGNREGA has declined. During the Mayawati regime the decline was not so significant,but now our fund allocation is nearly one-fourth of last year, Gope said.
In 2009-10,the state was sanctioned Rs 6,820.59 crore under MGNREGA,which was hiked to Rs 7,305.45 crore in 2010-11 and reduced to Rs 6,668.32 crore in 2011-12.
After Akhilesh Yadav took charge as Chief Miniser of the state on March 15,2012,MGNREGA funds for the state started drying up,said Gope. In the year 2012-13,the state had sent a plan for Rs 7,003 crore. But the total availability of funds was Rs 3,090 crore,which included Rs 1,654 crore as the opening balance from previous year. The Centre released only Rs 1,292.02 crore while the state government released its share of Rs 143.54 crore.
We utilised 80 per cent of the amount,still funds were not released, Gope alleged.
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The minister denied any anomaly in MGNREGA work in the state. The national level monitor (NLM) of the Rural Development Ministry conduct checking at regular intervals. We submit reports of works religiously. Everything is on record and nothing has been found wrong, Gope added.
He said several letters had been exchanged between state government and Rural Development Ministry,but all failed to break the ice. The CM wrote two letters in January and March to Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh. I have lost count of letters written to Ramesh. I even had telephonic conversation with him several times but in vain, he said.
Last month,officials from the states Rural Development Department camped in Delhi for a fortnight. There is hardly anything left to be done on my side, Gope claimed.
The minister said that he is ready to personally visit Delhi with all papers if the ministry wants any clarification.