Latest News

July 31, 2011

Chief Minister expresses displeasure at the Center`s delay in releasing funds

Chief Minister expresses displeasure at the Center`s delay in releasing funds

Kolkata, July 31: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday strongly defended her demand for a special financial package from the Centre and said her government was facing a financial crisis because the previous Left Front government had left behind an empty coffer.

She also said she was unhappy with reports of Union Finance Minister`s comments about the demand for a special economic package from the Centre. `We have not done anything unconstitutional. Nor am I ashamed to demand money for Bengal from the Centre. It is our right to demand funds for the state. One can say things are being run arbitrarily only if after inheriting a debt burden of Rs 2.1 lakh crore we leave after five years leaving a debt burden of Rs 4.2 lakh crore.`

Asked if she would take the taxation route to generate revenues as the Union Finance Minister has advised, the Chief Minister said her government would not `burden the people`.

Referring to Union Finance Minister`s purported comments at his interaction with Congress legislators yesterday, she said: `There is no reason to criticize us in this manner. Ami e shob bhalo bhabe nichchhi na (I’m not taking this well). This is an insult to Bengal and I won’t accept this. Our MPs will raise the issue in Parliament. I’m watching the developments.`

Ms Banerjee stated that in the past the Centre had bailed the Left Front government out from financial stringency. `CPM was given a bailout package of Rs 3,500 crore. We are not resenting that. People of the state had benefited from it. When we can't pay salary to the employees, we have to ask for money. The Centre is like the father of the state governments, so we can ask for help.` She also stated that in the past the Centre had given special package to the Andhra Pradesh as well in a roundabout way.

She stressed that the Prime Minister, too, had promised to offer a special economic package to Bengal. `We have inherited an empty coffer. Why was the Centre silent when the finances of the state were mismanaged by the Left government for 34 years,` she asked. The CM pointed out that she herself and her Finance Minister Amit Mitra had met the PM and Union Finance Minister to discuss special assistance.