Centre takes up non-release of PMAY-G funds with Mamata government

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections, the Centre has strongly taken up the issue of non-release of over Rs 4,500 crore earmarked for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin) by the Trinamool Congress government.

According to sources, the state government has not released the central share of Rs 3,146.64 crore and the state share of Rs 1,521.1 crore earmarked for PMAY-G, adversely affecting the pace of its implementation.

As per the ‘rural housing mission’ guidelines, the Centre releases earmarked funds to the state government, which, in turn, releases the central share and the state share to a single savings bank account called the State Nodal Account (SNA). The beneficiaries constructing their houses in villages are directly transferred their instalments through a fund transfer order from this account. Sources said West Bengal government has not released Rs 4,667.74 crore to SNA.

The rural development ministry raised the issue with the state government in a high-level meeting on November 6. A senior official told ET: “This is partly because of financial mismanagement on the part of the state government. While most states are facing fund crunch due to Covid-19, West Bengal has been unnecessarily withholding this amount.”

The state has a target of constructing 9,23,505 rural houses under the scheme. This year, 7,263 houses have been completed. Even the process of sanction is slow. So far, 6.96 lakh houses have been sanctioned. PMAY-G aims to replace all kutcha houses with permanent ones in rural India by 2022 and has a target to build 2.47 crore houses.

In June, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had accused the Centre of bias when her state was not included in the 125-day Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan to provide employment opportunities to migrant workers who had returned to their villages. The Centre had clarified that the state could not be included as it had not sent the workers’ lists on time.

“On the one hand, the state wants GKRA to be extended and on the other the funds that are available with it are not even being released to beneficiaries in time. Then demand for extension is meaningless. This was also brought up in the meeting with the state,” the official said.

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