October 22, 2011
Paschimbanga CM attends 56th National Development Council Meeting, shows Center the truth about the state
Paschimbanga Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee attended the 56th National Development Council Meeting in New Delhi on Saturday morning at Vigyan Bhawan. Ms. Banerjee reached New Delhi on Thursday late evening was received by a huge crowd at the Delhi airport. She too exchanged pleasantries with a warm smile on her face `Nomoshkar Kemon Aachen` (Hello, how are you all) with all and drove to Babakharak Singh Marg, her official residence since she was the Railways Minister in the union cabinet. As if nothing has changed then same old car and her aide Ratan Mukherjee. However, the Chief Minister unlike her predecessors preferred to put up in the small flat as usual rather than staying at the Banga Bhawan, the state guest house in Chanakyapuri.
Ms. Banerjee called upon the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at his residence on Race Course Road on Friday morning and discussed various issues concerning the development in Paschimbanga and apprised him of the financial crunch, `I had told the Prime Minister the last time I met him, and today, I reminded him, about West Bengal’s poor financial health, we have inherited an empty coffer with an additional debt of rupees 2,00,000 crore`, said Ms. Banerjee. She also sought cooperation from the Centre for the repair of national highways 31 and 34 which are in poor condition. The Prime Minister assured her of all cooperation and spoke to Minister for Highways Mr. C P Joshi in this regard. She also sought a moratorium for at least three years on repayment of loans. The state government had sought a special financial package of 1,900 crore from the Centre soon after coming to power in May but is yet to get the funds. Apart from that Ms. Banerjee apprised the Prime Minister of the poor condition of the jute farmers demanded a bonus of rupees 400 to all the jute farmers. `The minimum support price offered by the Jute Corporation of India to them is rupees 1,700 per quintal, the farmers have to incur rupees 2,400 per quintal towards production cost`, added Ms. Banerjee.
Later in the afternoon Ms. Banerjee met the journalist representing the Bengali media and apprised them of the development. `I had a fruitful discussion with the Prime Minister and he assured me that he would look into the matter`, said the Chief Minister who reiterated her stand to build a new Bengal, `I am trying to improve the situation in my state as the past regime has destroyed the economy`. She requested the media not to compare Paschimbanga with other states, `It is indeed embarrassing on my part to say that my state lack in development as no development could take place in the state because of 35 years of unabated misrule`, she added.
In the evening Ms. Banerjee met Minister for Minister of Rural Development Incumbent Mr. Jairam Ramesh in the evening. Mr. Ramesh assured her that she can expect full cooperation from his ministry and he would soon visit the `Jangalmahal`.
Paschimbanba Chief Minister attended the Planning Commission meeting on Saturday.
“After 34 years of misrule, founded on coercion and violence, the economy of the state is in shambles. Therefore, the 12th Plan must give special attention towards the regeneration of the great state of West Bengal,” Ms. Banerjee told the National Development Council meeting here.
The state’s debt grew from Rs 41,894 crore to Rs 1,91,835 crore, a jump of 457 per cent, between 2000 and now.
“In view of the financial mess that we have inherited, 12th Plan must look at a debt restructuring plan for West Bengal,” Ms. Banerjee said, adding “no state can be compared to the unfortunate hydra-headed challenges being faced by my state”. Maintaining that Bengal’s financial scenario was “unmanageable”, she said the situation “can only be corrected by a large infusion of liquidity particularly for non-plan expenditure in the form of liquidity-infusing and grant-based financial package”.
Terming the Maoist menace in the state as a “major problem”, she said Centre should give “special treatment” in the 12th five year plan to meet the developmental needs of the affected areas.
Observing that three districts of the state “have a major problem of Left Wing extremism”, she said these districts suffered from “severe backwardness” and the Trinamool Congress-led government had taken several initiatives to develop the Jangalmahal area and hence it looked forward to “special treatment” in the 12th Plan”.
Ms. Banerjee took the flight to Kolkata immediately after the meeting