Rahul attacks Mayawati government over health funds (Lead)

July 21st, 2011 - 11:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Rahul Gandhi Gorakhpur/Mau (Uttar Pradesh), July 21 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, on a two-day tour of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Thursday slammed the Mayawati government over alleged bungling of rural health funds and urged the youth to take interest in the state’s affairs to ensure that central funds meant for development are “utilised properly”.

Gandhi, addressing people in Gorakhpur, criticised the state government over alleged misappropriation of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds and said such “open loot” of central funds in any other state would have led to the fall of that government.

“If such an activity (misutilisation of funds) would have happened in Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana or Punjab, the government there would have fallen on the same day,” Gandhi told a gathering of Youth Congress activists in Gorakhpur, some 300-km from Lucknow.

“NRHM is just one programme in which there has been an open loot of thousands of crores in the state… Robbery takes place during night, but here (in Uttar Pradesh) it has taken place in broad daylight,” added Gandhi, who from Thursday has undertaken a two-day visit to eastern Uttar Pradesh to promote membership drive of the Youth Congress.

In Mau, Gandhi called upon the youths to get united to fight against terror.

He said that his family has been a victim of terrorism that could be curbed with the assistance of youths.

“The Congress general secretary asked us to join hands for fighting terrorism. He (Gandhi) was of the view that to counter terrorism youth irrespective of their religion must come forward,” said a Youth Congress activist in Mau, some 280 km from Lucknow.

Gandhi said for “development of Uttar Pradesh” youths of the state need to become aware and take initiatives.

“Be it the Bundelkhand package or the central funds meant for Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) or any other welfare scheme, the money released by the centre for such schemes would not be utilised properly until the youths of Uttar Pradesh start taking interest in state affairs,” Gandhi told a gathering in Mau.

“Uttar Pradesh will continue to lag behind until youths here show inclination towards activities taking place in the state,” he added.

Gandhi called upon the party’s youth activists to work hard for reviving the Congress in the state. He asked the young workers to take up issues related to the poor and downtrodden.

Gandhi will Friday visit Ballia and Varanasi districts to interact with the party’s youth activists.

While the central team auditing the NRHM account in the state has reported massive irregularities in the award of contracts for various works under the programme, allegations have been made that a nexus of politicians, mafia and government doctors swindled over Rs.3,000 crore NRHM funds in the past six years.

Award of huge contracts for supply of goods and equipment under the centrally-funded NRHM and large-scale financial bungling are believed to be the cause behind the murder of two chief medical officers - Vinod Arya and B.P. Singh, and the mysterious death of deputy chief medical officer Y.S. Sachan inside the Lucknow jail.

Days after recommending a CBI probe into the mysterious death of Sachan, the state government Wednesday also referred the murder cases of the two CMOs to the CBI. The CBI will also be requested to probe the alleged anomalies in the implementation of the NRHM schemes.

Meanwhile, Gandhi also carried out surprise inspections of various villages in Gorakhpur to evaluate the implementation of central government-sponsored schemes.

“He (Gandhi) reached Kataka village after riding a boat. Congress general secretary also held a `chaupal’ (informal meeting) at the door of one Rekha Mallah… During the meeting he asked the locals about their problems and enquired about implementation of central projects,” Congress spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap told reporters.

“Gandhi also had a brief halt at a roadside eating joint, where he had snacks. There too he continued to interact with locals.”

According to party officials, Gandhi paid a surprise visit to the `samadhi’ of Saint Kabir in Sant Kabir Nagar district, some 30 km from Gorakhpur.

During his stay of around 30 minutes, Gandhi interacted with visitors to the saint-poet’s mausoleum.

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