Not a single house was built for the homeless under the Prime Minister housing scheme as funds were not allotted by CM Bhupesh Baghel despite repeated requests, said Chhattisgarh minister TS Singh Deo’s letter announcing his resignation from the Panchayat and Rural Development Department portfolio.
While the letter was out in the media on Saturday, Baghel said on Sunday he was yet to receive it and that he learnt about the latter’s move through the media.
The development comes over a year ahead of the Assembly elections in the Congress-ruled state.
Singh Deo will, however, remain the minister for Health and Family Welfare, Medical Education, Twenty Point Implementation and Commercial Tax (GST) departments.
In a four-page resignation letter addressed to the chief minister, accessed by News18, Singh Deo cited various reasons, stating that he was unable to fulfil the targets of the department as per the vision of the Jan Ghoshna Patra (poll manifesto), given the “current scenario”.
“Despite my repeated requests to you, funds under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna were not allotted as a result of which houses could not be constructed for 8 lakh people. Providing houses to the homeless poor was a key promise in the poll manifesto. But in the incumbent government, not a single house was built for the homeless and progress of the scheme was nil,” he said in the letter.
He also claimed the draft of rules under the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act prepared by his department and sent to a committee was changed without taking him into confidence.
“Under the Mukhyamantri Samagra Gramin Vikas Yojna, a committee of secretaries headed by the chief secretary was constituted against the standard protocol for granting final approval to works. The discretion to approve works of any department lies with the minister concerned,” he added.
“I had raised objections over the constitution of this committee, but went in vain, due to which development works worth over Rs 500 crore could not be implemented,” he said.
“As part of a conspiracy, employment assistants under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) were made to stage a strike, in which the role of Assistant Project Officers (Contract) was clearly visible. A committee was constituted by you (Bhupesh Baghel) to fulfil the demands of the protesting MGNREGA employees, even after this the strike was not called off, due to which the wage payment of about Rs 1,250 crore was affected which could support the rural economy, ” he said.
Singh Deo further stated he was “not in favour of the re-appointment of Assistant Project Officers (contractual) under MGNREGA”.
“I have resigned from the Panchayat and Rural Development Department,” the letter said.
Singh Deo represents the Ambikapur seat in the Surguja region.
The sudden development is seen as a bitter fallout of an old political rivalry between Baghel and Singh Deo, who was seeking the chief minister’s post under a purported power-sharing agreement.
I haven’t received the letter, when I receive it, will look into it: Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel on resignation letter of TS Singh Deo as Panchyati Raj Minister pic.twitter.com/IHxFqjUvAd
— ANI MP/CG/Rajasthan (@ANI_MP_CG_RJ) July 17, 2022
Asked about the development, Baghel told reporters: “I have not spoken to him (Singh Deo). I tried to call him last night, but he could not be contacted.”
Meanwhile, All India Congress Committee’s Chhattisgarh in-charge P L Punia, who is on a visit to the state capital Raipur since July 15, said, “Whatever decision will be taken, it will be informed to you (media). I have discussed the issue with Singh Deo, CM and K C Venugopal ji and a necessary decision will be taken.”
The Congress has called the state legislature party meeting at 7 pm on Sunday which will be held at the chief minister’s official residence.
With Agency Inputs