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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Mamata Banerjee bats for more districts ‘to expedite development works’

The area under the existing districts in the state is vast and therefore they need to be split further, she said, adding that the state needs more manpower and infrastructure for the purpose.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: May 13, 2022 4:22:37 am
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at the townhall in Kolkata on Thursday. (Express Photo: Partha Paul)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said that there is the need for having more districts in the state so as to “expedite development works”.

Addressing the annual general meeting of the West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS-executive) officers in Kolkata, the CM said, “We want more districts to accelerate developmental works in the state. We need at least 46 districts against the existing 23. When we increase the number of districts, we will have to deploy more officers. Therefore, we will have to increase the vacancies of WBCS-cadre officers.”

The area under the existing districts in the state is vast and therefore they need to be split further, she said, adding that the state needs more manpower and infrastructure for the purpose.

“We will increase the quota of WBCS officers so that they can be deployed in the newly formed districts,” she said.

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The government has already announced to bifurcate large districts like North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore.

The CM announced that the field allowance of WBCS officers like block development officers (BDOs), sub-divisional officers (SDOs), additional district magistrates (ADMs) and district magistrates will be on a par with IAS officers.

The WBCS officers posted as DM will get Rs 10,000 allowance.

The Chief Minister accused the Central government of not releasing funds to the state. “Today I came to know that the Centre has not released money for 100-day work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) since December last year. They are taking money from us but not giving it back.”

The CM on Thursday also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding the state’s due share under the MGNREGA. She wrote, “It is astonishing that the Central government is not releasing funds to West Bengal under the MGNREGA and the PM Awas Yojana. You are aware that MGNREGA wages form an important part of livelihood of people in rural areas. The Act mandates that wages must be paid within 15 days. In West Bengal, wage payment is pending for more than 4 months as the Centre is not releasing funds to the tune of nearly Rs 6,500 crore to the state. Of this, Rs 3,000 crore is against wage liabilities and Rs 3,500 ceore against non-wage liabilities.”

The letter further read, “Under the Awas Yojana, West Bengal is number 1 in the country. Since 2016-17, more than 32 lakh houses have been constructed in the state. Despite a good performance, no fresh allocation was made to the state by the Union Ministry of Rural Development. Considering the hardships being faced by people, I will request your immediate intervention and direction to the concerned ministry to release the funds without further delay.”

Meanwhile, Shakeel Ahmed, who is posted in the Minority Affairs and Madarassa Education Department, was elected as the president of the WBCS Officers’ Association while Shantanu Mukherjee, deputed at the CM’s office, was unanimously elected as its general secretary.

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