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Saturday, 21 April 2012

Mamata repeats demand for interest holiday on Central loans, wants reply in 15 days or else…


Mamata repeats demand for interest holiday on Central loans, wants reply in 15 days or else…

Calcutta, Apr 21 (PTI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday gave the Union government a 15-day ultimatum to decide on her demand for a three-year moratorium on the huge interest burden of the state.
"It will have to be done. We are unable to pay. I have waited for one year and I will wait for another 15 days and then....," the chief minister told a convention of West Bengal Civil Service officers.
However, she did not say what she plans to do if the Centre does not agree to her demand. She had first made the demand last year shortly after coming to power in the state.
Warning that if any effort was made to deprive the state it would not be tolerated and would become 'a big issue', she said, adding, "I have made repeated appeals, my patience is running out".
Mamata pointed out that she had had taken up the demand of the state, which had inherited a debt burden for the over Rs 2,00,000 crore loans taken by the previous Left Front regime, in the past with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Union finance minister.
Asked by reporters about the course of action she contemplated after the 15-day deadline for the grant of a three-year tax moratorium the state has demanded, the chief minister did not reply.
"How can I carry out development work, pay salaries and allow people of Bengal to live if the income is Rs 21,000 crore and interest payout is Rs 22,000 crore", Mamata asked.
She said the Centre had also stopped disbursing the Central Sales Tax compensation of Rs 1,500 crore.
About the Centre's claim of giving funds to the state, Banerjee said the Central funds received were for backward area development, including the region known as Junglemahal, which were also received by other states.