New Delhi: The pending MGNREGA funds for West Bengal will be issued when the Centre is satisfied with the "transparency" in the implementation of the scheme, Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh said amid an ongoing tussle between the state and the Centre on the issue.
At a press conference on the achievements of the rural development ministry, the minister was asked about the West Bengal government's allegation that funds for the rural development scheme have not been released to the state for almost two years.
"Payments will be made to West Bengal when the Centre is satisfied over transparency in implementation of the scheme... Have we not given money to Bengal, we are giving them money under other schemes," Singh said.
Top leaders of the Trinamool Congress held protests in the national capital on October 2 and 3, demanding that the Centre release the dues. The Centre has alleged that there is corruption in the implementation of the scheme in the Trinamool Congress-ruled state.
TMC leaders also came to the rural development ministry at Delhi's Krishi Bhawan on October 3 to meet minister of state for rural development Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, but the meeting did not take place as the MoS asked them to send some select representatives from the around 40-member delegation.
TMC leaders accused the MoS of leaving without meeting them and were later evicted from the Ministry premises. Singh, however, defended the MoS, saying, "Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti ji was sitting till 8.30 pm... They did not want to meet the minister, they wanted to create a scene". Talking about the flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the minister underlined that there is no deficit of funds. He said that the finance ministry has been approached for additional funds under the scheme and it will be sanctioned soon.