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Mamata Banerjee meets PM Modi, seeks urgent release of Bengal's dues


KOLKATA: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is on a four-day Delhi visit, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and placed a list of Rs 100968 crore claiming that the money the Centre owes to the state government in GST arrears and other segments related to the central government schemes, sources in the Trinamool Congress said.

In the 45-minute meeting, the CM also raised the issue of using the central agencies which are summoning Trinamool Congress functionaries.

Taking a jibe at Mamata-Modi meeting, the CPI(M) and Congress described it as a part of her "setting" plan to settle an under the table deal with the BJP.

Mamata’s Delhi visit and meeting with Modi is said to be politically significant in the backdrop of the arrest of Partha Chatterjee, former commerce and industries minister in Bengal cabinet who was third-in-command in the TMC, by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in alleged school recruitment scam during the politician’s tenure as education minister.

"In the meeting, the CM mentioned about Rs 90,000 crore which is the state government’s GST share and lying due with the Centre. She said unless the state gets its share, it will be difficult to clear the dues of the state government employees," said a senior TMC leader.

The leader said Mamata also demanded Rs 5,561 crore which the Centre owes to Bengal government as labourer payment under 100-day job scheme. "She also mentioned about Rs 9,329 crore which the state is yet to get from the central government under the housing scheme for the poor people," he added.

The state government decided to hold release of funds under 100-day job scheme since December last year citing anomalies found by the Centre’s monitoring teams which visited Bengal on two occasions. The Centre is also yet to release the labour budget for Bengal in 2022-23 fiscal.       

On several occasion, Mamata raised the issue of economic blockade which the Centre is carrying out by not clearing the fund meant for 100-day job scheme and the state’s GST arrears. She had written a number letters to to the Prime Minister requesting him to clear the dues.

CPI(M)’s central committee member Sujan Chakrabarty described the meeting a mere eye-wash. "It is clear that she flew to Delhi to settle a deal with the BJP to protect her corrupt party leaders from the central agencies. The ED already interrogated her nephew Abhishek Banerjee on two occasions in connection with a money laundering case linked to coal smuggling being probed by the CBI," he said.

Congress state president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury echoed Chakrabarty saying after Chatterjee’s arrest, Bengal CM landed in Delhi to protect her own men who are facing corruption charges.