‘Centre depriving the poor through political interference’
Sources said that Banerjee has directed the officials during Friday’s administrative review meeting in Nadia not to show much interest in implementing Centre’s Sukanya Samriddhi project, which was claimed to be mooted in the line of the West Bengal government’s Kanyashree scheme.
She accused the Centre of “pushing” the states towards a “debt trap” and said West Bengal is paying Rs 47,000 crore as debt servicing every year, which is set to climb to Rs 60,000 crore next year.
“From where will we get the money to run the state? We are paying for the sins of the previous Left Front regime. This is totally unacceptable. The Centre is slowly trying to push the states towards a debt trap,” she alleged.
The Centre has withheld funds under MNREGA and other schemes. Under the Pardhan Mantri Sarak Yojna too, the Centre is not releasing funds, the Chief Minister claimed.
“The Centre is pursuing a policy of political discrimination. They are making tall claims about bank accounts opened under Jan Dhan Yojna. But the fact is, when an account-holder is seeking a loan he or she is denied the loan,” she alleged.
In June, Banerjee had termed the debt trap as a “death trap” and called for a discussion among states on the issue.
According to the political analysts, this comes as a strong reaction of the Mamata Banerjee government against the Centre for reducing funds in many schemes and not releasing the state’s money pending with the Centre as the former had already spent it for various projects.
She maintained that the Centre has given clearance to the state to carry out the repairing work on the national highways when it is monsoon. “They had not even done the patch works. Concerned departments have been asked to look into the matter so that people do not get harassed unnecessarily for the poor condition of the roads,” she said.
It may be recalled that after the administrative review meeting in South 24 Parganas on Thursday, Banerjee had attacked the centre on the same issue, stating that the state has been deprived due to political disparity.
On Friday, again she elaborated how the state is getting deprived despite the Centre is taking away a huge amount of money by charging high rates of service tax and cess from all the states.
The Chief Minister said, banks are not giving loans to Kishan Credit Card (KCC) holders and this comes at a time when the Centre is stressing on distributing KCCs among more farmers. “There could be nothing more unfortunate if a farmer doesn’t get loan. But there is no dearth in giving advertisement in dailies by the Centre,” she said.
In the same breath, she said loans were not being sanctioned which are going for “self employment” projects. Scholarship for minorities has also been affected. “They are saying that it is happening due to a technical problem in the portal. Then why is the system that may affect such an important work not getting repaired. The portal is yours (Centre’s) and it is you who can only give a satisfactory answer in this regard,” she said adding that she had never seen political disparity in terms of development and the reducing fund or completely stopping giving money to the state by the Centre is becoming a permanent headache.
She again repeated that how the state has been brought under a debt trap as it has to clear a debt of Rs 47,000 crore when a state’s expenditure is around Rs 40,000 crore in a year. “Then how do the states function and undertake development work?” she raised the question.
She said that the state government had given land to set up AIIMS in Kalyani was handed over almost 5 years ago and now she came to know that the money was received only to construct boundary walls on the premises.
This was the 138th administrative review meeting of the Trinamool Congress government and in Friday’s meeting she came to know about alleged atrocities by BSF jawans on villagers in the bordering districts. She urged the Chief Secretary Basudeb Banerjee to initiate a talk in this regard.
She further said that projects to set up IT park and MSME clusters in the district were going on in a good pace.