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In WB funds meant for minority concentrated areas used in village with negligible Muslim population

Village with over 80 % Muslim population not listed for MsDP, but those with 98% Non-Muslim population gets benefits under Indira Awaas Yojna

By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net,

Kolkata: In West Bengal implementation of Multi-sectoral Development Programmes (MsDP) of Central Government meant for minority concentrated districts (MCD) appear to be politically motivated by the respective provincial government.

There appears to be some kind of arbitrariness – or intentional bias – in choosing and selecting villages or blocks for development programmes meant for minorities. The minority concentrated gram panchayat under the Magrahat-II Block is one such district.

Although 80 per cent of villagers in Jugdia Gram Panchayat are Muslims, it does not enjoy any privileges under MsDP. On the other hand, Urelchandpur Gram Panchayat with 98 percent Hindu populations has been identified as ‘minority concentrated gram panchayat’ and thus enjoys development programmes meant for minorities.

Minority Affairs Ministry has selected 1228 blocks as minority concentrated regions, having more than 25% minority population. There are 152 Minority Concentrated Blocks in West Bengal, of which 22 blocks are in South 24 Parganas.

Thus while Muslim dominated village of Jugdia Gram Panchayat is deprived of housings facilities, in Urelchandpur houses are being bulit under Indira Awaas Yojona (IAY), originally meant for Muslims.

The Panchayat Pradhan (Sarpach) of Jugdia, Zafor Ali Molla filled a written complain to the District Magistrate of South 24 Parganas on April 17, 2012 pointing to the discrimination in the allocation of MsDP.

He has, so far, got no response from the DM office, even after reminding him again on October 31 through email.

Molla, who is an intermediate chartered accountant, and serving as Gram Panchayet Pradhan for last 25 years told TCN that there appears some kind of conspiracy at administrative level so that the condition of minorities do not improve and are deprived from welfare schemes like IAY.

The district minority affairs office, under the District Magistrate, issued two memos (Memo No. 462(29)/MA/10 dated 06/10/2010 and subsequently Memo: 514(29)/MA/10), according to which Urelchandpur Gram Panchayat in the Magrahat-II Panchayat Samiti (Block) is minority concentrated panchayat.

TCN talked to Rizwan Wahab, Block Development Officer of Magrahat Block-II. He said that the specific village was identified as minority concentrated panchayat, before he occupied that post and so he is not aware of the realities. He added that for rectification higher authorities need to take the initiative.

Wahab, however, assured that he will keep an eye on the issue. He also informed that the complaint filed by the respective Gram Panchayat Pradhan has been to the office of District Magistrate for his consideration.

When TCN asked the Block Development Officer (BDO) on how a gram panchayat with 98 % Hindu population was recognised as ‘minority concentrated panchayat,’ he refused to talk, as the decision as taken before his posting there.

In South 24 Pargans so far Rs 66,660,250 has been released in two installments. Due to negligence and mismanagement of the state government MsDP appear to have uncertain future. If funds are not used on time, they may lapse and future funding may stop.