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Mamata slams Modi on fuel subsidy: Spent Rs 15k crore in 3 years

Earlier in the day, PM Modi came down hard on Opposition-ruled states and said some states did not reduce VAT on petrol and diesel despite the excise duty cut by the Centre last November.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 28, 2022 4:40:34 am
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File)

Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for urging non-BJP ruled states to cut VAT on petrol and diesel in the “national interest”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday asked when would the central government clear all the pending dues it owed to the state, and said that she would reduce the tax on the petroleum products more than the BJP-ruled states.

“The Centre owes West Bengal Rs 97,000 crore, I request the PM to pay us half of that amount and we will provide higher subsidy on petrol and diesel than the BJP-ruled states,” said Banerjee.

“The West Bengal government has spent Rs 1,500 crore in the past three years to subsidise petrol and diesel in the state. We have been providing a subsidy of Re 1 on every litre of petrol and diesel for the past three years,” said Banerjee hours after Modi in a virtual interaction with chief ministers flagged higher fuel prices in opposition-ruled states such as Maharashtra, Kerala and West Bengal and asked the state governments to reduce VAT in the “national interest” and for the benefit the common man.

Terming the PM’s comment “one-sided” and “misleading”, she said, that there was no scope for the chief ministers to speak at the meeting, and hence, they could not counter the Prime Minister’s statement. “We listened to you carefully but had no scope to counter you. We do not agree with your views.”

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The CM accused the Centre of allocating more funds to the BJP-ruled states and neglecting the opposition-led states.

“The Prime Minister praised the BJP-ruled state governments for reducing VAT on petrol and diesel and criticised the non-BJP states for not doing so. But what he did not mention is the Union government has been giving unequal treatment to the non-BJP ruled states when it comes to payment of central dues.”

“It would have been better had the PM not spoken on the fuel price hike in a Covid-19 review meeting, it was his agenda,” said Mamata, reiterating her demand for a reduction in fuel prices.

Joining Mamata, her party Trinamool Congress called the meeting with the PM a “gyan baato” session and demanded that the Centre clear dues it owes to the West Bengal government.

“Mr. @narendramodi, we would like to draw your kind attention to key numbers that you may have missed in today’s ‘gyaan baato’ session. Government of India owes Government of West Bengal a WHOPPING Rs 97,807.91 Cr! Care to shed light on this? Any plans to clear our dues? Let us enlighten the Prime Minister on this momentous day…,” the party said in a tweet.

Another tweet from the party listed what the West Bengal government had done to reduce the burden on the common people.

“GoWB has been giving a rebate of Re 1/ltr on Petrol & Diesel since February 2021, in order to reduce the burden on people. GoWB has waived Rs400 Cr of road tax on vehicles,” it said.

—With PTI Inputs

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