KOLKATA: The Panchayat and Rural Development (PRD) department will be carrying out audit of all the gram panchayats in West Bengal to assess the extent of corruption in the grassroots that caused a jolt to the ruling Trinamool in the general elections.
The audit process is likely to start before Durga Puja.
Sources said the audit order came from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
According to sources at the state secretariat, the accountant general is responsible for the gram panchayat’s audit. “Audit is carried out regularly at all the zilla parishads, but it cannot be followed at gram panchayats because of manpower shortage. We are thinking of hiring private agencies to bring all the 3,329 gram panchayats under audit process,’’ said a PRD official.
Corruption was one of the key weapons of the BJP during the elections. The state government also realised that corruption played a key role for the success of the BJP which bagged 18 of the total 42 Parliamentary seats.
According to records available with the PRD, at least 25 to 26 projects funded by both the Centre and state are being implemented through the gram panchayats. The projects include housing schemes for the poor, jobs under the MGNREG scheme and road constructions in rural Bengal.
“The audit teams will examine every details of expenditure incurred by the gram panchayats. If there is any suspicious transaction, beneficiaries of these schemes will be approached directly for inputs,’’ said an official.
At a meeting with municipal councillors on June 18, Mamata expressed displeasure citing examples of how local TMC leaders are taking cut money from the poor beneficiaries. She had issued a diktat to the party’s representatives to return any money if they have taken from the people. Later, this led to a series of demonstrations in Bengal.