Kalimpong Farmers’ Welfare Association accused GTA failing to utilise funds

Kalimpong Farmers’ Welfare Association accused GTA failing to utilise funds
The Kalimpong Farmers’ Welfare Association has accused the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration of failing to utilise funds sanctioned under the Indira Vikas Yozana scheme for 2013-14. It said several financially weak households in the hills are suffering as a consequence.
Association secretary Bishnu Chhetri said if the GTA does not put to use the funds within this financial year, they could get withdrawn by the government. Under the scheme, an eligible household is entitled to Rs75,000 for constructing a house, but due to the complacency of the GTA, the funds have remained unused, he added, noting the scheme will benefit BPL households immensely if properly implemented.
Speaking to reporters this afternoon, Chhetri said the Association will raise the issue when state Panchayat department officer Devendra Shankar tours the hills in the near future. Further, he alleged the 100 days work and the NHDP schemes have not been implemented in a satisfactory manner. Claiming rampant corruption is ongoing concerning the 100 days work scheme, the Association secretary demanded provision of open tenders for distributing items. He further said no tender announcements have been made so far for suppliers in the 100 days scheme. As a single party is vested with the responsibility of supplying items, the standard of the materials have declined and this is affecting efficient work.
According to Chhetri, there are numerous self-help groups in the hills and the ratio of women workers is quite commendable. Had there been a provision of open tenders, these self-help groups, especially the women members, would be helped a long way in becoming financially strong, he remarked.
Speaking about the NHDP scheme, Chhetri said each block is entitled to get Rs12 crore in development funds under the programme. But the GTA is yet to submit an annual action plan to the government for the year 2014-15. The scheme basically aims at developing the standard of education at the block level and the funds are meant to be utilised for infrastructure construction such as school buildings, fencing, books and stationery and the ICDS programme, said the Association secretary. He concluded by claiming farmers in the hills have not enjoyed any benefit from the schemes in place since 2007.(EOIC)

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