Kolkata, Aug 24 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday took a swipe at the Centre for not divulging details of the functioning of the Prime Minister's CARE Fund and said that her government has been maintaing transparency in its operations since coming to power in 2011.
Banerjee without naming anyone, lambasted those criticising her government for irregularities in the procuring of masks, gloves and kits to fight COVID-19 in the state.
Her comments came days after Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has had several run ins with the state government, called for an 'independent probe' into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of medical equipment for the contagion.
Lambasting the BJP, which has been repeatedly criticising her government in tackling the pandemic, she said 'There are a few people who have no work but only roam around and go on criticising. The finance department has its own people to audit every department to find out if things are being properly done or not.
'There is more transparency in daily operations now compared to what it was for 34 years during the Left Front rule,' Banerjee claimed during a virtual administrative meeting.
'I have been working for the last nine years here (in the government). I have never directed you (the officers) to work like this or like that in any issue. Our government works with transparency.
'People are now putting up questions on how many masks my government has purchased. I ask them how much fund has been collected in your Take Care Fund before you throw such a question to somebody else,' she said referring to PM Care Fund, which had attracted criticisms from other opposition parties in the past.
The PM Care Fund was set up in March with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and provide relief to those affected.
Harping on transparency, Banerjee said that important decisions are taken by the chief secretary, home secretary, health secretary, disaster secretary who sit together in meetings where there is no political interference.
'I can say that ours is the only government where we do not interfere politically. We ensure that every department is working independently. We have a grievance cell to address any issue.
'Even if a common person complains we carry out an investigation into it. At times we have to conduct enquiries even against my ministers, party (TMC) leaders and officials,' she said.
Continuing her attack against the BJP, Banerjee said that details of money received by the state government for its fight against COVID-19 was repeatedly announced at different programmes for the common people's knowledge.
'Do those protesting out in the street have any idea about how the state is procuring so many kits, gloves and oxygen cylinders? We have created a fund to fight COVID-19 and every penny of it is being spent through the finance department.
'We have repeatedly told people that Rs 150 crore was received for the COVID fund and how it helped us. But what others have done with the fund was not disclosed. We (TMC) are a political party holding a government here. Like there are political parties in power in Tripura, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisragh, Assam and in Rajasthan... Go and see yourself in the mirrors,' she hit out.
Prime Minister Narendra Modis office had denied providing information related to the PM CARES Fund to a Right to Information activist.
Banerjee referred to the faulty kits provided by the ICMR and then withdrawing them. 'Before questioning the state government from where it is buying the medical equipment, you (Centre) have to answer where from you bought those faulty kits.' She said the West Bengal is yet to get Rs 53,000 crore from the Centre, Rs 4,500 crore for GST and had got nothing to fight Covid-19.
'We have lost one year due to the pandemic, Amphan and several other problems. But still we are trying to solve every issue,' she added. PTI SCH KK KK