Bengal BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on January 19 accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of misusing mid-day meal funds and said the money was instead used for the TMC supremo’s trip to Hingalganj two months ago.
Suvendu Adhikari said, “CMO grabs from the plates of schoolchildren to fund her (Mamata Banerjee) trips. What a shame.”
CM @MamataOfficial grabs from School Childrens' food plates to fund her trips. What a shame !
Lakhs of rupees were diverted from the Mid Day Meal funds for CM's trip to Hingalganj; North 24 Parganas, last November. Even funds for SC, ST & OBC Development were wasted on her trip. pic.twitter.com/Q6paIC4l0t
— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) January 19, 2023
Suvendu Adhikari also alleged that funds for the development of the SC, ST, and OBC’s were also diverted for the trip.
“The West Bengal Government is bankrupt because the CM’s (Mamata Banerjee) so-called administrative visits are being financed by diverting funds from mid-day meals and other schemes,” Suvendu Adhikari said.
“Rs 1.35 crore was spent on her 2-day visit. This is just a small example. WB Govt and its Officers from the top to the BDOs regularly divert funds unethically. But stealing from Children’s plates is just unimaginable. That’s why snakes & lizards are found in Mid-Day Meals in WB,” Suvendu Adhikari tweeted.
Earlier the West Bengal Government has decided to serve chicken and seasonal fruits in mid-day meals for four months starting January and has allotted Rs 371 crore for introducing the same. According to an official notification, chicken and seasonal fruits will be served weekly once for four months for additional nutrition under the PM POSHAN scheme.
Currently, students are provided with rice, pulses, vegetables, soybean and eggs in schools as part of mid-day meals.
The additional items will be served from January 23 to April 23 in every block on different days of the week.
Meanwhile, hitting out at the Mamata Government over its decision, the Opposition BJP has called it a “financial scam”.
The Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari took to Twitter and said, “One of the biggest ongoing Financial Scam in WB is the systematic misappropriation and diversion of Central Govt’s Mid-Day Meal or PM Poshan funds by the State Govt’s Administrative machinery.”
The BJP leader has also written a letter to Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan regarding the same and said that the State Government took the move to serve their own interests.
“One of the biggest ongoing Scams being committed by the Government of West Bengal is the Mid-Day Meal scam or PM Poshan scam. The misappropriation of the funds granted by the Central Government in this regard has been systematically diverted unethically by the State Government on a regular basis to serve their own interests,” the letter reads.
“Mid-Day Meal Executing body is School and once the sub-allotment of the fund is done from District Magistrates (DMs) to Sub Divisional Officers (SDOs), Block Development Officers (BDOs) and Municipalities after that this fund is further suballoted to respective Schools’ Accounts, which is within their jurisdiction. Thereafter the expenditure is made by the Schools to implement the program. Inflated and artificial enrolment of students are done by the teachers through faulty updation in the Banglar Sikhsha portal,” the letter further said.