Mamata seeks safe city project for Kolkata under Nirbhaya Fund

New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) Kolkata will become a “safe city” for women with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking the measure to ensure safety and security to women from the Nirbhaya Fund, an Central government official said on Monday.

“For the first time, Mamata Banerjee had sent her team to attend meetings of Ministry of Home Affairs and suggested proposals for utilisation of funds from Nirbhaya Fund and ‘safe city’ project is a part of it,” a Union Women Child and Development Ministry official told IANS.

According to the ministry, seven more cities, apart from Kolkata have been finalised for safe city projects under Nirbhaya Fund and these are New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.

“The project cycle has been fixed for four years and the expenditure from the fund will happen accordingly. The amount allocated cannot be utilised overnight,” the official added.

Union Women Child and Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, addressing a press conference, said that Banerjee had earlier refused to implement ‘One Stop Centres’ (OSC) in her state despite being approached by her ministry.

The OSC scheme, started in 2015 under Nirbhaya Fund, are supposed to provide access to services like medical aid, police assistance, legal aid and psycho-social counselling to victims of sexual assaults.

Asked about the utilisation of Nirbhaya Fund, Gandhi said that funds will only be disbursed if the schemes are actually meant for providing safety to women.

“We are just waiting for good ideas to come in. There is money under Nirbhaya Fund and it is being utilised but I am strict. WCD is using the fund where I find that those funds will make a difference to women and where it won’t, I am not going to approve,” she said.

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