Chidambaram calls for dialogue on Bengal’s finances

July 6th, 2012 - 1:22 am ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, July 5 (IANS) In the wake of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking financial aid for her cash-strapped state, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram Thursday called for dialogue between the central and state government to resolve the crisis.

“I am sure that the wise person the prime minster (Manmohan Singh) is and the practical person the chief minister (Banerjee) is, they will sit together and find out a solution to the financial crisis,” said Chidambaram here.

Banerjee has been clamouring for financial assistance from the central government saying the state has a debt burden of over Rs. 2.03 lakh crore due to which Rs.25,000 crore was spent in repaying loans and principal annually while the state’s annual earning was only Rs.21,000 crore.

However, in spite of several round of talks between the state and the central government, the Trinamool Congress supremo’s demand is yet to be met.

Banerjee has also been seeking a three year moratorium for the loans which, however, has been denied by the central government resulting in a war of words between the Trinamool Congress and the Congress.

Admitting the state’s financial crunch, Chidambaram, a former finance minister, said the central government has been supporting Bengal in many ways and will continue to do so.

He also said the projected outlay for the state for the 12th Five Year Plan has been increased to Rs.136,000 crores, which is the 180 percent rise over the 11th Plan period.

“In case of West Bengal, in the 11th plan period, the total expenditurewas Rs 48,213 crores. In the 12th plan period the projected outlay is Rs1,36 , ooo crores, which is a 180 percent rise over the 11th plan period,”said Chidambaram.

Meanwhile, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said the state could spend only 46 percent of the funds available to it for variousdevelopmental projects.

“As of now, West Bengal could spend only Rs.2,273 crore of the allocated Rs.4,935 crore for various developmental projects. The outlays are available but the states are unable to spend it,” he said.

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