Kolkata, Feb 6 (IANS) The leader of opposition in West Bengal Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, wrote to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday alleging that the state government has utilised funds allotted under the 15th Finance Commission (FC) for paying electricity bills.
“I had a meeting with the Union Finance Minister on Monday during which I informed her about such irregularities. She asked me to submit the complaint in writing. Today, I sent the details to the Finance Minister through email,” Adhikari said.
According to him, the total value of the electricity bills paid by the state government from the allotted funds under the 16th Finance Commission amounts to Rs 330.35 crore.
“This is yet another major irregularity, considering that the funds allotted under the Finance Commission are supposed to be spent for development projects like rural road construction and development of sewerage systems, among others. Electricity bills are supposed to be paid from the state’s own funds,” Adhikari argued.
He also alleged that a portion of the funds under the 15th Finance Commission was also utilised by the state government for making payments for festival bonus to casual employees of different municipal bodies during the Durga Puja festival last year.
“There is a provision for temporary utilisation of Finance Commission funds for making payments for salaries, wages or bonus. But the rule is that the amount utilised has to be returned to the original corpus within a month of its utilisation, which was not done in this case,” Adhikari claimed.