Mamata pins hope on Modi govt for debt repayment

Mamata pins hope on Modi govt for debt repaymentKOLKATA: Denied of any relief from the UPA-II government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today pinned her hopes on the new BJP government at the Centre for a positive response on the state’s huge debt repayment problem.

“They (the Centre) were taking away all the money (from the state’s coffers towards debt servicing). The new government is coming – let’s see what happens,” Banerjee said at a government function here.

The state government, she said, was awaiting the report of the 14th Finance Commission on West Bengal’s financial demands.

She made the comments while pointing out the serious fund constraints facing the state was posing difficulties in continuing subsidies to different state transport corporations in West Bengal.

The debt-burdened West Bengal government had in November last year placed a proposal before the 14th Finance Commission demanding Rs 2,55,000 crore for five years (2015-20) to improve the state’s physical and social infrastructure and various development works.

Despite repeated meetings with the previous UPA government on the proposed moratorium on repayment of the state’s debt, the Trinamool Congress government failed to exact any assurance which left it dissatisfied.

The outgoing union finance minister P Chidambaram had on March 23 rejected Banerjee’s charges that step-motherly treatment was being meted out to the state saying there was no discrimination as central funds were allocated as per recommendations of the Finance Commission.

The state had been pressing for a three-year moratorium on its debt servicing loan payment.

BJP President Rajnath Singh at a rally here in February had accused the CPI (M) of reducing West Bengal economy to a state of bankruptcy and supported Banerjee’s demand for the moratorium. He had also urged the UPA government to accept the demand.–PTI

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