Cong, Trinamul in cycle tiff

Raiganj, Feb. 14: Deepa Das Munshi today distributed bicycles among madarsa girl students of three blocks in North Dinajpur, prompting criticism from the Trinamul Congress which alleged that the Congress MP had usurped a state government programme that had been launched by Mukul Roy recently.

Deepa, a Union minister, said the bicycles had been bought with central funds. Trinamul MP Mukul Roy, who is the all-India general secretary of Trinamul, had launched the district-wide distribution of cycles in Raiganj on January 24.

However, at a programme organised by the Congress-led zilla parishad here today, Deepa distributed 1,074 bicycles among girls studying in madarsas in Raiganj, Hemtabad and Kaliaganj blocks. Deepa said the scheme was being implemented by the Centre through the state government. "But the present state government is not giving any credit to the Union government. Instead, it is passing off all central schemes as its own to gain political mileage."

Former Raiganj Trinamul MLA Dilip Das, however, claimed that the distribution of bicycles was the "brain child" of chief minister Mamata Banerjee. "This state government programme was inaugurated by Mukul Roy and Deepa Das Munshi has no business in hijacking it."

Sources in the district administration said the bicycles were procured with funds provided by the state minority affairs department. Inquiries made at Writers' Buildings also showed that the funds were provided by the state and the distribution was being carried out through various state agencies and departments.

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