Naveen blames Ramesh of delaying fund relase

Bhubaneswar: The war of letters between Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over expenditure under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) hotted up on Monday with the latter blaming the Centre for delaying release of funds to the state.

"The state government could not spend funds during the last fiscal as the union ministry of rural development released funds under NRDWP in the last week of March 2011," Patnaik said in a letter to Ramesh.

Ramesh in a letter to the chief minister on October 5 had said the state government had not been able to spend the NRDWP funds made available to it. The ministry would consider additional funds under NRDWP for Orissa as demanded only after it utilised the money.

The opening balance under NRDWP in Orissa as on April 1, 2011, was Rs 134.02 crore, which had been released as first instalment for the current fiscal. The state had spent only Rs 72.96 crore by August 31, 2011, he said. Rejecting Ramesh`s claim, the chief minister in his letter said the state governemnt had already spent Rs 102 crore.

Patnaik said he had already instructed the concerned department to utlise the funds at proper time and submit utilisation certificate in order to avail the second instalment.