Don’t starve Bengal, Mamata tells Centre

Kolkata, Nov 27 Pressing her demand for “restructuring” debts incurred during the erstwhile Left Front regime in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday told the central government not to “starve” her state.

Mamta Bannerji
Mamta Bannerji

She also urged the centre, if needed, to seize the properties of those responsible for the large debts incurred by the state.

Addressing a public rally in Raiganj in North Dinajpur district, Banerjee said the state government was unable to efficiently implement development schemes because of the lack of funds. She warned the centre against starving her state.

“The centre takes away all our revenue for servicing debts which were incurred by the previous government. Why are we being subjected to this injustice, despite not being at fault?” asked Banerjee, claiming that the centre took away Rs.21,000 crore in 2011-12 and Rs.25,000 crore the following year towards servicing the debts.

“You (centre) will have to think. You (centre) will have to stop taking away the money, and if needed seize the properties of those who incurred the debts. For the last two and a half years, I have been going from door to door asking for relief,” Banerjee said.

The Banerjee government earlier placed a proposal before the 14th Finance Commission demanding Rs.255,000 crore for five years (2015-20) to improve the state’s physical and social infrastructure and take up various development works. She also sought the centre’s intervention in rescheduling the 10-year State Development Loan (SDL), so it could be paid back over a longer period of 15 to 20 years, with a three-year interest moratorium.

“I am not complaining about the Rs.40,000 crore which the centre takes from us annually towards taxes and other things. But this year, I have learned, the centre will deduct Rs.28,000 crore for servicing the debts. This cannot be allowed, this is injustice,” claimed Banerjee, who has repeatedly attacked the union government over the debt issue. (IANS)

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