After Sultan Ahmed was irked by the arbitrary functioning of the UPA-II government in appointing Shanker Sinh Waghela as the Chairperson of the Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), yet another TMC cabinet minister recently had a grouse.
After the Centre held back the release of the remaining funds to West Bengal for the purchase of buses under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Union MoS for Urban Development Saugata Roy raised the state’s cause with the Union Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath.
While the state government was asked to explain certain queries of the Union ministry, Roy had been completely left in the dark.
In a note to Nath, Roy questioned why he hadn’t been kept in the loop.
The Sunday Standard has learnt that Nath has acknowledged the error and has directed for its immediate correction.
“Yes, I wrote a note to Kamal Nath asking why I wasn’t informed. He acknowledged that it was a mistake made by a ministry official and would be duly corrected,” said Saugata Roy, Union MoS for Urban Development to this newspaper.
The Centre had commissioned the purchase of 1200 buses under the first phase of JNNURM.
For Kolkata the Centre was paying 35 per cent of the cost while for Asansol it was 50 per cent in two installments.
“While the first installment has been paid, 50 per cent of the second installment has been pending for over a year,” added Roy.
While the amount itself isn’t too huge—about Rs 65 crore—the move is significant since Roy is the second TMC minister in the Union cabinet to express his displeasure regarding the functioning of the central government.
The senior TMC leader has now directed his state counterparts to immediately reply to the Centre’s queries regarding the utilisation certificate as well as enact reforms in the transport department on war-footing.
“This would enable the releasing of the remaining funds,” said the Minister.
The minister has also urged the state government to prepare a better plan of projects for the second phase of the JNNURM than the first one.
“Under JNNURM-I, Rs 574 crore remained unutilised by the state government due to the Left Front’s slip-ups. The new government had submitted 10 projects.”
“A number of other projects couldn’t be sanctioned as they need to be technically whetted and sent to the monitoring committee,” said Roy.
According to Roy, the second phase of the JNNURM is slated to kick off in October this year.