KOLKATA: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday served a 15-day ultimatum to the UPA government at the Centre on the repeated demand for a three year moratorium on the huge interest burden of the state.
"It will have to be done. We are unable to pay. I have waited for
one year and I will wait for another 15 days and then....," the chief minister told a convention of WBCS officers, but did not state her next course of action to press the demand.
Warning that if any effort was made to deprive the state it would not be tolerated and would become 'a big issue', she said, adding, "I have made repeated appeals, my patience is running out".
Banerjee pointed out that she had had taken up the demand of the state, which had inherited a debt burden for the over Rs. 2,00,000 crore loans taken by the previous Left Front regime, in the past with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the union finance minister.
Asked by reporters about the course of action she contemplated after the 15-day deadline for the grant of a three-year tax moratorium the state has demanded, the chief minister did not reply.
"How can I carry out development work, pay salaries and allow people of Bengal to live if the income is Rs. 21,000 crore and interest payout is Rs. 22,000 crore", Banerjee asked.
Stating it could not be countenanced that she could not work to meet the basic needs of the people, she said, the Centre had also stopped CST compensation of Rs. 1,500 crore.
About the Centre's claim of giving funds to the state, Banerjee said the central funds received were for backward area development, including junglemahal, which were also received by other states.