February 28, 2021 3:48:42 am
To woo followers of the Furfura Sharif whose cleric Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui has joined hands with the Congress and the Left Front, TMC chief and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee allocated Rs 2.60 crore for the development of the popular Muslim shrine — hours before the model of conduct came into effect with the announcment of the Assembly poll schedule on Friday.
A senior official of the Finance Department said, “This fund will be mainly used for 20 high mast and 400 LED street lights and other beautification projects of the shrine. In the 2020-21 financial year, the Finance Department allotted almost Rs 20 crore for at least 60 schemes and the Furfura Sharif Development Authority.”
The decision comes amid TMC’s apprehension that Siddiqui’s newly floated Indian Secular Front (ISF) may undercut its support base among the minority community, which comprises 30 per cent of the state population. According to a TMC leader, the ISF holds sway in at least four-five districts, including Hooghly, Howrah and North 24 Parganas. Siddiqui had on Thursday announced that the Left Front had agreed to give his party 30 seats. He said the ISF would participate in a rally led by the Congress-Left alliance in Kolkata on Sunday.
Another official said the state government had taken the decision after
Siddiqui’s uncle and rival Toha Siddiqui met Banerjee and Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim at the state secretariat on Thursday. Toha had lashed out at his nephew for announcing the seat deal with the Left, saying he was becoming a “communist rather than a pirzada”. He alleged: “He (Abbas) is facing some serious allegations of corruption, and that is why he is compelled to ally with the CPM and Congress.” In another decision by the state government beating the poll code, the daily wage rate for labourers was hiked. “I am pleased to announce a HIKE in the wages of daily wage workers under WB Urban Employment Scheme: To ?202 per day from ?144 earlier for unskilled labour, To ?303 from ?172 earlier for semi-skilled, ?404 for skilled labour (new category introduced),” the CM tweeted on Friday. “A total of 56,500 workers (40,500 unskilled, 8000 semi-skilled, 8000 skilled) will benefit from this. These wages are in parity with rural workers’ enhanced pay (MNREGA unskilled & semi-skilled). Budget provision for this step has been made available for both FY21 & FY22,” she said.
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