Criticising the central government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Tuesday that her state gained nothing from the video conferencing meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and claimed that the attendees at the interaction with the PM always return empty-handed. She also reiterated that the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic was poorly planned.
“I raised several issues during the meeting with PM. But I must say we always return empty-handed after our meetings with PM. We are yet to get our dues,” the Chief Minister was quoted as saying by PTI. The Centre is yet to clear the “legitimate financial dues” of the state, she claimed.
Banerjee also stated that an early relief from the crisis is unlikely and called for the need of a ‘three-month plan’ to deal with the situation.
“Don’t think we will get relief from the COVID-19 crisis anytime soon. We should have a three-month short-term plan in place to tackle the situation,” she was quoted as saying after a review meeting with state officials.
Banerjee also announced that areas under red zones will soon be given more relaxations. “The red zones would be further divided into three categories. Steps would also be taken to restart the 100-day work scheme in the non-containment areas,” PTI quoted her as saying.
Referring to the communal clashes that broke out in Hooghly district last week, Banerjee said action will be taken against those found guilty. “Stern action will be taken against those involved in communal clashes amid the lockdown. No one will be spared if found guilty,” she added.
Prevously, Banerjee had attacked the Centre at the video-conference meeting with PM Modi on Monday, accusing it of playing politics and unilateral decisions.
She took on the PM, Home Minister Amit Shah as well as Central government officials, questioning their actions in the midst of a pandemic. She was among the CMs who opposed the Centre’s plan to dilute the lockdown and start the train service.
Sources familiar with the proceedings at the meeting told The Indian Express that Banerjee accused New Delhi of taking decisions without consulting states. “She said that the Centre sends advisories and, before they reach the state, these are leaked to the BJP unit and media,” a source said. She also accused Central officials of holding video-conferences with state officials without keeping her government in the loop. “Don’t do politics, Amit Shah saheb,” she said.
(With inputs from PTI)
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