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Mamata urges PM to sanction Rs 25,000 cr for Bengal, says state’s finances in ‘dire’ situation

KOLKATA, WEST BENGAL-West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to sanction Rs 25,000 crores for West Bengal and release the funds still due to the state saying that the state’s finances are in “dire situation”.

“May I bring to your kind attention that our state finances, like that of many other states, is in a dire situation with practically no revenue flows after the closure of almost all businesses. Despite this, we were somehow able to pay the salaries, wages and pensions of government employees this month, though some major states of the country could not even do that in full,” Banerjee stated in the letter to the Prime Minister.

“We are also having to honour our commitments of providing free ration to almost 9 crore people, who need this so crucially to survive in these perilous times. You will recall that prior to the current COVID-19 pandemic and ‘lockdown’, the Government of India had already reduced their devolution to our state by over Rs 11,000 crore and were yet to pay Rs 36,000 crore owed by Gol to our State,” read the letter.

“I earnestly urge you to sanction a grant of a minimum of Rs 25,000 crores for the State of West Bengal and release the funds still due to us from the Government of India, as per my earlier letter to you. To uphold the spirit of cooperative federalism, we need this minimum help from the central government to cope with this unprecedented impasse at this hour to fight against COVID- 19 pandemic,” it said.

Earlier, Banerjee said that there are 37 COVID-19 positive cases in West Bengal including three deaths and three people who have been cured. Now, there are 31 active cases in the state, she said.