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Centre allegedly withholds WB govt’s Rs 826.72 crore

The Centre has allegedly withheld funds of around Rs 826.72 crore which the state government is supposed to get for the construction of ‘Suswasthya Kendras’ (health and wellness centres) across Bengal.

According to sources the Centre wants the Bengal government to strictly follow the “branding” norms.

State government had sent the fund utilisation certificate to the Union Health Ministry around six months ago furnishing the details about the expenses incurred against the construction of Suswasthya Kendras, block and primary health centres but the dues have not been given to the Bengal government.

It was alleged that the Centre had cleared the dues in the 2022-23 financial year to other states like Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Telangana, Maharashtra and Manipur before the end of the fiscal year.

Around Rs 3,000 crore are due for Bengal under the National Health Mission. After stopping funds under Awas Yojana and MGNREGS, the Centre has stopped payments under the National Health Mission. It had recently written to the state government threatening to stop funds if colour branding is not followed in case of Suswasthya Kendras. The Centre has accused the state of ignoring the names of the “Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres” which have come up in the primary and block levels. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reportedly expressed concern over the matter during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. She reportedly told her cabinet colleagues that the BJP-led Centre has been “saffronising” everything.

The National Health Mission director has recently written to the state health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam in this regard as well. Incidentally, the Centre has already stopped providing its share of around 25 per cent of funds in connection with the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme against the 75 per cent share that the Bengal government bears. MillenniumPost

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