Ahead of her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been seeking a waiver on the debt burden, on Wednesday asserted it was time to get the state's dues.
Banerjee, who would be having a one-on-one meet with Modi on March 9 for the first time since the BJP came to power last year, said she was compelled to take the step as the 14th Finance Commission failed to redress the issue of loan waiver despite assurances from both the erstwhile UPA and the incumbent NDA governments.
"The (erstwhile) UPA as well as this government, both had assured the (14th) Finance Commission would look into this problem. But since it has failed to redress, we are compelled to take this step," Banerjee told media persons here."It's a big issue for the state. We have waited for over three and a half years which is an indication of our patience. But now it is time for us to get what we deserve. We will now make a request to get our due," she said.Banerjee said the Centre so far has deducted over Rs.1 lakh crore towards debts incurred by the erstwhile Left Front government in Bengal.Incidentally, both Banerjee and her Finance Minister Amit Mitra had dismissed as a "bluff" the special assistance proposed by the central government for her state.Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed a series of sops for Bihar and West Bengal in his budget.During the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, of which Trinamool Congress was a constituent, Banerjee had been campaigning for debt relief meeting former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union finance ministers Pranab Mukherjee and P. Chidambaram, but with no success.