May 30, 2011
Bengal to get assistance from Central Finance Ministry
Kolkata, May 30: Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee was promised “required assistance” for Bengal from the Centre to tide over its financial crisis after a 40-minute meeting with the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday evening.
The state`s debt burden stands at a shocking 2 lakh crore and it has the highest debt to-state domestic product ratio.
Describing Bengal’s financial situation as “worse than Aila-hit Sunderbans”, Ms Banerjee said: “The treasury was closed since November. Most of the social security projects had stopped. We have lifted the embargo. There was huge mismanagement and wastage of money. The system has completely collapsed. We are putting it through a special scrutiny.”
The Central Ministry would take both long-term and short-term measures need to be taken. Every kind of help will be provided to the state government to tide over the difficulties. There will be a series of meetings at the official and ministerial levels between the state and the Centre to decide the bailout package and all help will be extended to the state government to fulfill the mandate that the people have given it.
The Chief Minister also invited Mr. Mukherjee to the state secretariat. “I have requested Pranabda to come to Writers`. We will offer him tea and Pranabda will treat us to sweets,” she said, probably hinting at the bounty she was expecting from the Centre.
State Finance Minister Amit Mitra, Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee, the Chief Secretary and the Finance Secretary had accompanied Ms. Banerjee to the meeting with Mr. Mukherjee.