BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has sought a grant of Rs 25,000 crore from the central government to tide over the difficult times following the coronavirus pandemic in the country and the subsequent lockdown.
In the letter sent by Mamata to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she states that all businesses have come to a standstill as a result of which the state’s earnings have dwindled and the financial condition of Bengal, like many other states, is bleak.
“Due to closure of all types of businesses, there is virtually no income of the state government. Nevertheless, salaries, wages and pensions have been paid to the government employees. Many of the states in the country could not do so. I have also been able to handle the debt burden left by the previous government. But now the future is uncertain. Besides, we are responsible for girls, students, peasants, unorganized field workers, marginalized classes, minorities, Scheduled Castes and Tribes. We are also committed to providing free ration to nine million people during this difficult time,” the chief minister wrote.
In the letter, the CM reminded the Centre that prior to the lockdown, around Rs 11,000 crore was deducted from its dues. There are also arrears to the tune of Rs 36,000 crore that the Centre has to pay the state. Hence, the financial situation of the state is gradually deteriorating.
The CM has said that in keeping with the federal structure of the country the central government should cooperate with the state in tacking the situation arising out of the coronavirus pandemic. A minimum grant of Rs 25,000 crore should be allocated to West Bengal. In addition to this, the Government of India should pay the dues of the state at the earliest, the letter stated.
Mamata has also urged the people to make generous contributions to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in these difficult times. The CM said that every single rupee is important and welcomed the participation of those who managed to contribute even Rs 2 to the the COVID-19 emergency fund.