Foreseeing all-round prosperity on the removal of Congress-led government at the Centre, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today accused it of failing to fulfil the promises it had made when the state government came to power in 2011.
Mamata, who was attending a press conference at Uttarkanya — the new north Bengal secretariat in Siliguri — said that her government was assured by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Centre-backed loans to West Bengal will be restructured but nothing happened in three years.
“Now this (UPA) government has just 15 days to live and the early it goes, the better it will be for people,” the chief minister said.
She also accused the previous Left Front government of bringing economic disaster in the state by going on a borrowing spree and the Centre of allowing it to do so.
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All the “borrowed money”, according to the chief minister, that were earmarked under planned heads, were spent on other projects.
What maximised the state’s troubles, she alleged, was that the erstwhile government didn’t plan anything and often indulged in strikes, thereby spoiling the state’s work culture. She also criticised the previous government for not introducing provisions of Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management (FRBM) Act, and gave her government credit for trying “to bring the economy under a discipline”.
She termed West Bengal as “the most deprived state in the country”. “This year we will earn Rs 40,000 crore through revenue receipts but the Centre will take away Rs 28,000 crore (as annual interest on Central loans) from the state exchequer,” she said, and asked “if the Centre takes away bulk of the state’s earnings, how will she pay salaries and pensions and carry on with other development work?”
“We have to figure out ways to pay salaries to school teachers, police and government employees under the circumstances as we have lots of plans for development.”
First Cabinet meeting outside Kolkata in over 40 years
KOLKATA: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Cabinet meeting today at Uttarkanya in Siliguri became the first such meeting in over 40 years that was held outside of Kolkata. The last cabinet meet outside Kolkata was held under the chief ministership of Siddhartha Shankar Ray, during the period of 1972-1976. The Uttarkanya secretariat (also known as mini secretariat) in north Bengal was set up last month to decentralise administration and speed up the development programmes in the region. The chief minister said this – “holding of a meeting within 20 days of the inauguration of the secretariat” as was promised – proves that “we do what we say”. North Bengal Development Minister Goutam Deb said now the people of north Bengal districts “will not have to go to Kolkata to get their work done as the mini secretariat would have 20 departments other than the North Bengal Development Department. PTI