With the 25 per cent minority votes in the state likely to be a deciding factor in the Lok Sabha elections,the Left Front government is showering money on minority development projects.
The department of minority development announced on Thursday that it would allocate Rs 50 crore for developmental work in the six minority-dominated districts of the state. Projects worth Rs 4,86,85,000 have been allocated to districts like Malda,Murshidabad,Burdwan,Birbhum,Howrah and Nadia.
According to Minority Development and Madrasa Education Minister Abdus Sattar,the allocation is in addition to the money allotted by the various departments for developmental projects.
We keep on hearing that after the report of the Sachar Committee and the poll debacle in the panchayat elections,we have to speed up our developmental plans, Sattar said. He was trying to counter the criticism that this announcement is a political sop aimed at appeasing the minority community before the polls.
We had tried to identify the gaps in the development of minorities in the state and through the allocation tried to fill them up, the minister said.
The government may try to take credit for the allocation,but most of the funds are from the Centres contribution for developmental projects like the construction of anganwadi centres,construction of hand pumps,teaching aids to madrasa sikhsha kendras and sishu sikhsha kendras. Of the entire money allocated to the development projects,about Rs 43 crore has been allocated from the central funds and only about Rs 5.5 crore has been allocated by the state government.
Earlier in July last year the state government had decided on a minority action plan in 12 districts where the percentage of minority population is considerably high. In a meeting headed by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee officials of these 12 districts and the minister for minority development decided on how to go about implementing the plan.
Sattar said the state government has a budget of Rs 300 crore for the madrasas in the state,whereas the Centre has a fund of Rs 45 crore for the same.
The department also announced that they have bought a 140 cottah land from the Kolkata Improvement Trust at 17 Gorachand Road at a cost of Rs 14 crore. The land will be developed as the city campus of Aliah University.