KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government’s monthly dole for women has resulted in a cash crunch that is set to hit infrastructure projects in West Bengal.
Many projects, which have been submitted or are to be submitted for administrative approval, are likely to face a roadblock as the state government’s coffers are stretched, apparently because of Lakshmir Bhandar scheme for homemakers.
The scheme, which will be implemented from October-end, requires Rs 18,000 crore annually.
It is one of Mamata’s pre-poll promises and is believed to have paid her huge dividends in the assembly election earlier this year. In Bengal, women constitute 49 per cent of total voters.
The Trinamool Congress returned to power for a third term riding on massive support of women.
Sources in the state administration said projects worth about Rs 8,000 crore were already pending for administrative approval and more were supposed to be sent for the government’s nod.
However, the government has asked the public works department (PWD) to assess the necessity of all such projects.
“All the PWD engineers have been asked to submit reports mentioning why the projects are a necessity. The proposed projects include replacement of 45-50 bridges and construction of roads,” said a government official.
“A detour of a few km because of a broken road/bridge creates a negative impression against the administration, but the government has realised that it is far less than the positive impact of monthly amount that will be credited to homemakers’ bank accounts,” said the official.
A PWD official said the decision was linked to the finance department’s austerity drive.