West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday criticised the Centre for not announcing a three-year moratorium on the interest the state pays annually.
“All our revenue is being taken away by the Centre for servicing the debts that were incurred by the previous regime. We are not left with a single paisa. Why are you punishing us for faults which are not ours?” she asked, squarely blaming the debt burden on the last Left regime.
An angry Mamata went on to challenge the UPA Government to take action against the Left over the debt burden.
The TMC-led state government has been rallying for a three-year moratorium on the interest the state pays the Centre every year. Speaking at the inauguration of Milan Mela 2012 here, she accused the Centre of “snatching away” the state’s livelihood.
“We have many plans for welfare of the people, but we do not have enough money left after paying `22,000 crore annually as interest. We told the Centre we do not need its mercy. Are we beggars?” she said, adding that “students, youth, priests and imams and all sections of people” should unite to demand a moratorium.
“They (Centre) had allowed the Left to make so much debt, but they have been denying us the same. Why are you trying to snatch away our livelihood? The people of Bengal will have to assert their rights and demand that the centre stop taking away all the money…Stop taking the interest. We want justice. If you have the guts then punish those who have taken the debts and don’t try to kill us by taking away all our money,” Mamata said.
She also accused the Congress-led UPA government of discriminating against West Bengal, saying that the state got a measly 3 per cent bank loan while Andhra Pradesh received 49 per cent.