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Featured Image: Trinamool MLA Asit Majumdar in file photo.  

By A Newsman

Hooghly, 1 June: CHIEF Minister and Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee today publicly hit out at a party MLA for inflating the project cost of a stadium at Hooghly’s Chinsurah so that he could claim a higher kickback from the project.

Banerjee warned Asit Majumdar, the Trinamool MLA from Chinsurah Assembly constituency to not to “eat” all the kickbacks alone and instead, share the same with others.

The public outburst suggests that cost of development projects in Bengal is being inflated by a nexus of public representatives and government officials, and the Chief Minister is aware of this.

The rather unusual revelation came today at an administrative review meeting chaired by Banerjee at Tarakeswar in Hooghly this afternoon where she was listening to elected representatives and government officials on the issues that they were facing.

When MLA Asit Majumdar’s turn came, he stood up from among the audience and said that Rs 5 crore that has been allocated from a Trinamool Rajya Sabha MPs fund for a proposed stadium at Chinsurah was not enough and the projects needs Rs 14-crore.

On hearing this, the Chief Minister lost her cool and said that her government would not provide excess money to ensure that the MLA and others got “cut money.”

“Do not act so irresponsibly. Rs 5 core is an MP’s entire year’s fund and this is no small amount. I cannot provide fund to ensure that you get cut money,” she said in the open meeting attended by officials, academics, elected representatives, and students from Calcutta University.

A visibly embarrassed Majumdar tried to put up a defence saying that the Rs 14-crore worth detailed project report for the stadium had been prepared by the Hooghly district magistrate and not him. But this made the CM more furious.

“The stadium has to be completed within Rs 5-crore. I am losing my cool over this; I will slash the funding to Rs 1-crore. This culture of taking commission on every project is not acceptable,” she said turning at the DM who was present in the meeting.

Not stopping at this, the CM and Trinamool chief warned the MLA not to try claiming all kickbacks alone. “Bhag kore khao, eka sob khabo ta hoyna (have to share the kickbacks with others, you cannot take away everything),” she said.