Railways funds for Games after checking credentials: Mamata


New Delhi : Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday said the Rs.100 crore her ministry promised for the Commonwealth Games would be released only after authenticity of the expenditure was checked with the Games Organising Committee.

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Replying to a debate in the Lok Sabha on the supplementary demands for grants of her ministry, Banerjee said the commitment of Rs.100 crore for the Oct 3-10 mega event was made by her in the railway budget in February.

“This is an important issue. We had promised Rs.100 crore in the budget. But we have not yet worked out the modalities of how the funds should be given for the Commonwealth (Games). We will give it only after checking the credentials of the expenditure,” Banerjee said.

She was responding to a volley of questions raised by MPs, including Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Harin Pathak, during the debate.

Pathak initiated the debate and sought to know how the railway funds for the Games were being used in the wake of allegations of corruption related to the super sporting event.

He said some public sector units were withdrawing their sponsorship of the Games as suspicions were raised that funds were being diverted to favour some individuals.

“Since the PSUs are withdrawing sponsorship, the Games Organising Committee has identified the railways, State Bank of India and Air India to get the funds. The allegations of corruption have raised suspicion that the funds meant for the Games are being diverted for personal gain,” he said.

This was Banerjee’s first appearance in parliament since her Aug 9 rally in Lalgarh in West Midnapore district where she made a controversial statement on Maoists by raising questions about guerrilla leader Azad’s killing in a police shootout.

She attended the house for the supplementary demands for grants worth Rs.489 crore for her ministry. The demand was granted by the house through a voice vote after her nearly 30-minute speech in the Lok Sabha.

The Trinamool Congress chief has invited criticism from opposition parties on the rising number of train accidents, her long and continuous absence from Delhi and her running the railway ministry from West Bengal where assembly polls are due next year.