Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing concern over "steady reduction" of Central funds to the state and "inordinate delay" in their release. The BJP called the letter a "political ploy to befool people" ahead of civic polls in the state.
In her letter, Banerjee asserted that despite the decline in central funds the state's GSDP grew by 10.4 percent against the national GDP growth of 5 percent in 2019-20. "I write to you with deep concern regarding steady reduction of central funds to the state and also inordinate delay in release of funds to us from the Government of India," Banerjee wrote.
She said the state is yet to receive its share of central funds totalling Rs 50,000 crore till January 2020. This "extradordinary situation" is creating major difficulties in meeting obligations for the welfare of the state, she said. The letter said, "You will, no doubt, appreciate that both the central and the state governments are expected to fulfil the constitutional obligations and the commitments to the people, so that respective governments run smoothly ... However West Bengal is being deprived of the huge outstanding dues."
Banerjee said West Bengal's index of industrial production (IIP) in April-November 2019-20 stood at 3.1 percent against the national figure of 0.6 percent, while growth of the services sector at 16.4 percent was much higher than the national number of 6.9 percent. "I would, therefore, urge upon you to kindly take all necessary action to address the issues mentioned above so that the state government can usher in more and more development works for the people of the state," she added.
Reacting to the letter, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha wondered why did it take the chief minister so long to write it. "What was the state government doing for so long? Just ahead of the municipal elections, all of a sudden, it has realised that it has been deprived of funds. This is merely a political ploy to befool the people of the state," he said.
Elections to 107 civic bodies in the state and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are likely to be held in April. The municipal polls are being billed as 'mini Assembly elections' ahead of the 2021 state polls.
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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2020 22:24:45 IST