Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Monday, renewed her demand for a waiver of interest on West Bengal’s huge debt burden, saying that her government had not asked for anything in the railway and general budgets.
“We have not asked for any anything in the railway budget. We have not also asked for anything in the general budget…,” Banerjee told a gathering here in West Midnapore district.
“A new government has come. We want the interest on the loans be waived by this government,” she said. “If that is not done we will launch an intensified movement (against the Centre) over it,” Banerjee said.
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Asking why her government should be made to suffer because of the huge loans taken by the previous government, the chief minister said “Rs one lakh crore has been deducted from the state’s coffers toward loan repayment. Every year the amount is rising.”
She said acute fund crunch was posing difficulties in carrying out development programmes. Despite repeated meetings with the previous UPA government for a three-year moratorium on repayment of the state’s debt, the Trinamool Congress government had failed to exact any assurance.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was then the BJP President, at a rally here in February had accused the CPI(M) of reducing West Bengal’s economy to a state of bankruptcy and supported Banerjee’s demand for the moratorium. He had also urged the then UPA government to accept the demand.
Later, at a public function held at Godapiasal High School ground, Banerjee warned that if the JSW group did not begin their steel plant at Salbani in the district, the government would take away the land given to them and give it to the other industrialists.
Jindals were given over 4,500 acre land including some government land to set up an iron and steel plant, but they did not do it, the Chief Minister said.
They had promised over 400 landowners whose land were acquired for the purpose, that their family members would get job in the plant, she said, and asked JSW authorities to pay Rs 5,000 each month to each of those families till they were provided job in the plant.
Stating that industry was needed in the state to generate employment, Banerjee warned people not to clash with the management of plants and industry and resolve problems by dialogue.
The Chief Minister also distributed Rs 3 lakh each to 30 families of Jangal Mahal whose male members had been killed by Maoists.