Tripura Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath Friday said that the state’s BJP-IPFT government would take Rs. 200 crore loan from Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) or Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to ‘tide over severe financial shortage that the erstwhile communist government left behind.’
Speaking to reporters at the state secretariat, Nath said the former Left Front government, which was led by Manik Sarkar, has left Tripura’s exchequer bankrupt due to unplanned projects which were undertaken without proper arrangement of funds.
The state government is under a debt burden of over Rs. 1,000 crore in which the Department of Health and Family Welfare has the highest amount of burden.
“The erstwhile government announced one project after another. But no funds made available for them. Projects worth Rs. 400.50 crores were started with only 30 per cent of funds available during commencement. Where will the rest of the money come from?”, Nath asked.
Around 231 works are under progress in 21 government departments including school education, higher education, health and family welfare, home, fire, jail, tribal welfare, law, tourism, youth and sports affairs, urban development, science and technology, minority, food and civil supplies, animal resource development, handloom, labour, panchayat, PWD etc. These works, most of which were buildings and other structures, have a cumulative financial requirement of Rs. 1,497.75 crore.
Nath said the government owes Rs. 421 crores to contractors who served under projects in different departments. The money has to be cleared immediately apart from managing the ongoing project funds, which is why taking a loan has been necessitated, he informed.
He alleged that those projects were started only to attract votes in the February 18 assembly election this year. Four Left parties – CPI, CPI (M), All India Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) – which governed Tripura for 25 years since 1993, were defeated by BJP and IPFT combine in this year’s elections.
“We are trying to get Rs. 300.58 crore Special Plan Assistance (SPA) from NITI Ayog. We are also trying to get help from RIDP, NABARD. But most of the projects were built in urban areas. So, our cabinet has approved to take a loan of Rs. 200 crores from HUDCO of LIC for now”, the Law Minister said.