Local traders went on rampage in West Bengal’s Siliguri to protest against alleged ‘cut money’ taken by Trinamool leaders. According to news agency ANI, several local traders shut down their shops in Siliguri’s Ghogomali area for indefinite period. They are protesting against ‘cut money’ allegedly taken by Ranjan Shil Sharma, a Trinamool Councillor of ward number 37. The traders were seen blocking roads by burning tyres and raising slogans. So far, the ruling Trinamool Congress has not issued any statement regarding the incident.
The tension in Siliguri coincides with The Indian Express report that has exposed the ‘rate list’ of the cut money taken by some of the Trinamool leaders. According to the report, people of the state are forced to give ‘cut money’ in order to avail the Centre’s scheme. The Indian Express Report said that the Trinamool leaders not only took money for making funds available under the central government’s scheme but also ‘charged’ people for state government’s welfare programmes. To be precise, Rs 200 is cut from the Samabyathi scheme, which provides a financial assistance of up to Rs 2000 for last rites.
According to the report, the rates for almost all the government scheme are fixed by the Trinamool leaders. For example, Rs 500 to Rs 600 per beneficiary for the Ujjwala Scheme, Rs 900 to Rs 2000 to construct toilet. This does not stop here as even the MGNREGA workers are required to pay Rs 20-40 from their daily wages.
The ruling party on the other hand, has maintained, “0.1 per cent of total public representatives” have “indulged in such activities, and action has been taken against them.”
The Indian Express report quoted a local resident of Hooghly as saying that each scheme has a rate and people from the grassroot level i.e. Panchayat to people in the state leadership are indulged in taking their share from the allocations meant for poor’s upliftment.