It is tough being Mamata Banerjee. She has dedicated her whole life to political causes. She kicked off every other opportunity coming her way, including forming a family. To her credit, she has credentials of uprooting left in Bengal and not allowing BJP to dethrone her. But time does not remain the same. In the wee hours of political career of “Green loving Mamta”, the grass does not seem to be greener anywhere.
Massive fine on Mamata government
The National Green tribunal has imposed a massive fine of Rs 3,500 crores on the West Bengal government. The tribunal found that incompetent administration of TMC was not able to protect the dignity of citizens alive in Mamata’s Bengal. According to the tribunal observations, the Bengal government was not treating solid and liquid waste promptly.
In the Urban section of Bengal, 2.7 billion litres of sewage is generated per day. All of them require immediate treatments. However, Mamata’s government treats only 1.27 billion litres on a daily basis. If you do not understand the reason behind calling Mamata government incompetent, here is an explanation for you. Mamata government has the capacity to treat 137 million litres more of sewage per day.
TMC not taking environment seriously
The declining capacity to treat solid and liquid waste is now impacting air quality as well. Air quality was at an abyss in mega cities of Kolkata and Howrah. It did not go unnoticed to the Green tribunal. They imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on Bengal Government for poor air quality.
In its order, Justice AK Goel, NGT Bench said, “Considering damage to the recipient environment, we hold that apart from ensuring compliance at the earliest, compensation has to be paid by the state for past violations. Final amount of compensation under the two heads (solid and liquid waste) is assessed at Rs. 3,500 crore which may be deposited by the state of West Bengal in a separate ring-fenced account within two months,”
Can’t cry foul
Apparently, Mamata government also does not have much leverage to cry foul about the availability of the fund. In this year’s budget, the government allocated itself ₹12,818.99 crore for Urban Development and Municipal Affairs. It is clear that they neither lack money, nor the manpower, they only lack political will. It’s understandable since Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is the brainchild of PM Modi and somehow she ends up being on the other side of anything which PM Modi supports.
Money is going down the freebie barrel
For instance, Despite funds under central government schemes like PM-KISAN and Ayushman Bharat being available, the TMC government is running its own schemes. Apparently, Mamata’s government is just burdening the state coffers. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Mamata government is also giving Rs 2,500 to Imams and Rs 1,000 to muezzins.
99 per cent of the state Muslim population has been put under the OBC category by the government. Madrassa students from Class I to VIII get free books, uniforms, bags, and shoes, while more than 1 crore minority students have availed state’s scholarships so far.
Wrong time for the fines
There are loads of such freebies putting massive holes in state coffers. Last year, the populist overspending resulted in a shortage of funds for the public works directorate. The impact is visible in business sentiments and living standard as well. According to a report by Business Standard, Bengal is at the 21st place in per capita income. The total debt on the state is now close to touching 6 trillion.
The NGT fines could not come at the worst time for Mamata administration. Most likely, TMC cadets would find a political angle to it and will try to utilise the fine for political purposes. Tough job for the tribunal in asking TMC to surrender the fine.
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