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Mamata moots all-party delegation for central assistance

Friday June 29, 2012 08:27:16 PM, IANS

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday proposed to send an all-party delegation to New Delhi to press for a three-year moratorium on payment of interest on the state's debts.

The state has a debt burden of over Rs.2,08,000 crore and the government ends up paying up Rs.25,000 crore annually in interest and part principal. The total annual earning of the state is just Rs.21,000 crore, said Banerjee in her reply to a question in the state assembly Friday.

The question was raised by a member who wanted to know whether the government planned to set up trauma care, intensive treatment and intensive care units at the Malda Medical College and Hospital in the state.

The chief minister said the state government was not in a position to do much on this front due to its limited resources.

Banerjee asked Industries Minister Partha Chatterjee to arrange for an all-party delegation that could press the central government to grant a three-year moratorium to the state on the payment of interest and repayment of loans.

The chief minister said that her government would be able to undertake a lot of developmental projects in the state if the moratorium proposal was approved.

In a reply to Congress Legislature Party leader Mohammad Sohrab, who asked for a response to a letter requesting discussion on the state's financial crisis, Banerjee said she met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee several times for financial assistance, but nothing fructified.

"I have discussed the matter at political level a number of times. I have to speak to your (Congress) leaders both in Delhi as well as those in the state," Banerjee said.



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