Dhaniakhali: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said her government will not pay annual interests on central loans to the state for three years due to the extreme financial crisis left behind by the erstwhile Left Front government.
"While the Central help to bail out our cash-strapped state is not at all forthcoming, we have expressed our inability to pay annual interests on the central loans. Our annual revenue stands at Rs 21,000 crore but a sum of Rs 26,000 crore goes out to the central exchequer from our state," she told a rally at this Hooghly district town. She wondered why should her government carry on the debt burden of Rs 2.5 lakh crore left by the LF government.
Slamming the Centre for taking away the bulk of revenue from the state, she said, "The Centre takes away Rs 40,000 crore from the state annually through central taxes. But they give West Bengal only Rs 18,000 crore in return.
"The Centre takes away 68 per cent of the revenue generated from the state in the form of different central taxes and returns only 32 percent of the revenue." "We do not want any alms. We are demanding our dues from the Centre," Banerjee said.
Without naming anyone, Banerjee said one or two union ministers claim that the states are being given a lot of money from the Central projects. "From where does this money (given by the Centre) come? It is generated from the states. We should be allowed to spend the money which the Centre is taking away from us."
The Trinamool Congress chairperson was also critical of the Centre for frequent hikes of petrol and diesel prices, rise in fertilizer prices, ceiling imposed on subsidised domestic LPG cylinders and its recent decision to increase railway fares.
She also criticised the move to gradually hike diesel prices every month till the losses are wiped off. "What are they are doing ? God and Allah please forgive them," she said.