Mamata meets PM, seeks early release of central funds
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking early release of funds to the tune of ₹10,000 crore due to the state under various centrally sponsored schemes.
In the nearly half-an-hour-long meeting in the morning, Mamata also raised the loan waiver issue with the PM while discussing the state's debt situation.
Drawing the PM's attention to the problems arising out of lack of funds, she said dues worth ₹ 10,469.01 crore were pending with the Centre for MNREGA, Swachh Bharat Mission, food subsidy among other programmes.
The Prime Minister said he would look into it, Mamata, who was in the capital on a four-day visit since Saturday, said here after the meeting.
She, however, declined to say anything on Teesta water sharing issue and said that there was no talk on it with the PM.
"We do not have money for state development work. West Bengal pays Rs.40, 000 crore to the centre. The Centre is yet to release funds to the tune of ₹ 10,459 crore," Banerjee told media in the Parliament.
The Bengal chief minister met BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani, with whom she has always shared a good equation. The two leaders reminisced about old days, including 1998 when Banerjee was a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), TMC sources said.
The sources said that "Banerjee had not been able to meet Advani since the death of his wife Kamla Advani last year. It was a courtesy call. They discussed the health of ailing leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee and Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi. Advani got emotional talking about his former colleagues."
Mamata also met Union Minister of State (I/C) for Power, Coal, Renewable Energy and Mines Piyush Goyal. After the meeting, Banerjee said that "After a three-year fight, the Centre has finally decided to allot the largest coal block — Deocha-Pachami in Birbhum district to West Bengal. Earlier it was a joint venture of five states under Bengal Birbhum Coalfields Limited (BBCL), but now it belongs to Bengal."
Deocha Pachami Dewanganj Harisingha is the country's largest coal block with reserves of 2,102 million tonne and spread across 21 villages in West Birbhum. Earlier, the Bengal government had sought priority over coal apart from the production of Syngas or synthesis gas, from the block because it held a majority 27.8 per cent stake. The TMC supremo said: "There will be an investment of ₹12,000 crore and more than 1 lakh youth will get job opportunities."