The West Bengal’s chief minister’s inadvertent admission that ‘cut money’ was taken by members of her own party as bribes, for implementing the welfare schemes of the government, has left the West Bengal locals fuming.
In a recent incident, the angry locals of East Burdwan district, agitating over the refund of cut money, dragged a local Trinamool leader from his house, tied him to a tree and thrashed him. Only after receiving a written declaration that he would refund the money within a month, was he released, reports The New Indian Express.
Locals alleged that Sheikh Habibul had collected cut money from the labourers involved in MGNREGA work at Durgapur gram panchayat in East Burdwan district. “We came to know he has given a written declaration. No formal complaint was lodged in this regard,’’ said a police officer.
Moreover, reports have also emerged that several traders on Wednesday, shut down their shops in Siliguri’s Ghogomali area for an indefinite period as a mark of protest against TMC Councillor Ranjan Shil Sharma who had allegedly taken ‘cut-money’ from them.
The protesters blocked roads and set tyres on fire in the area to mark the protest against the TMC councillor of Ward No 37.
In another incident, locals put up banners and posters in Ranaghat north-west Assembly constituency in Nadia district, West Bengal, accusing Trinamool MLA Shankar Singh of raking up crores of rupees in the name of ‘cut money’.
While reprimanding several party turncoats who switched to BJP after the Lok Sabha disaster, Mamata Banerjee, last month had confessed that the ‘cut money’ taken by members of her own party, for implementing the welfare schemes of the government, ought to be returned to the public.
“I do not want to keep thieves in my party. If I take action they will join some other party. Some leaders are claiming 25 per cent commission for providing housing grants to the poor. This should stop immediately. Return the money if any of you have taken it,” Banerjee had said. Little did the CM know, that by saying this she was opening a Pandora’s box.
As a consequence of her remarks, people across the state started agitating against the elected Trinamool representatives and leaders in the areas, demanding the return of the money they had paid as bribes. The crowd forced Trinamool leaders to declare in writing that they will return the money. One even admitted that he had charged between Rs 8,000 to Rs 10,000 from the beneficiaries of welfare schemes.
Moreover, such allegations go down to almost the Panchayat level. It is believed that TMC leaders, at the grassroots, are taking ‘cut money’, or ‘illegal commissions’ to facilitate the grant of Central and State government schemes.
An Indian Express report quoting villagers in Burdwan stated that TMC leaders often have a ‘fixed rate card’ of cut money for schemes starting from last rites to house construction ranging from Rs 200 to Rs 25,000.
Be it from getting an LPG connection under the central government’s Ujjwala scheme or for getting benefits of the state government’s Samabyathi scheme, which provides financial assistance of up to Rs 2,000 for the last rites and related expenses, the TMC leaders extort money from locals for getting benefits of every central or state government schemes.
Former ABP News managing editor, Milind Kahndekar, took to Twitter to share the ‘rate list’ of cut money of bribes the TMC asks people to pay for government schemes.
The’Rate List ‘ of TMC
Cut money or bribe TMC would ask people to pay for government scheme
– ₹200 for last rites
– ₹500-600 Ujjwala LPG connections
– ₹900-2,000 per beneficiary for toilet (clean India)
– ₹10,000-25,000 for house (PM Awas)
— Milind Khandekar (@milindkhandekar) July 3, 2019
On June 27, BJP MP Saumitra Khan had raised this issue in the Zero hour of the Lok Sabha and sought an inquiry into how much funds have gone into the chief minister and her family’s account.