Mamata Banerjee meets PM Modi, seeks urgent release of dues for West Bengal

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi to discuss timely release of the Centre’s dues under Goods and Services Tax and funds for various schemes.

In a memorandum, Banerjee said that she has repeatedly sought the prime minister’s intervention into urgent release of funds to West Bengal under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, PM Awas Yojana and the PM Gramin Sadak Yojana schemes, PTI reported.

The central government, she said, owes her state about Rs 17,996.32 crore under these schemes.

“Substantial amount on account of many developments and welfare schemes…estimated to be around Rs 1,00,968.44 crore is also due,” the memorandum added, according to F10 News. “With such large amount remaining outstanding, state is facing extreme difficulty to run affairs and take care of people.”

In June, Amit Mitra, principal chief advisor to the West Bengal chief minister, had said said the Centre has not given Rs 27,000 crore in Integrated GST dues to the states. It is one of the three components of the GST and is levied whenever there is an inter-state transfer and supply of goods and services.

Banerjee has often accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government of delaying GST dues to Opposition-ruled states.

Her meeting with the prime minister on Friday lasted for about an hour, PTI reported. The meeting came at a time when central investigation agencies have stepped up inquiry in connection with different scams in West Bengal.

After the seizure of nearly Rs 50 crore cash by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged teacher recruitment scam in West Bengal, Banerjee had to sack Partha Chatterjee as a minister and suspend him from Trinamool Congress.

The Central Bureau of Investigation had also last month conducted raids in West Bengal in connection with the coal pilferage scam.

Ahead of her meeting, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sujan Chakraborty alleged that the chief minister was using her Delhi visit to meet Modi and take measures to hide her party’s scams.

Reports said Banerjee was in Delhi to participate in a Niti Aayog governing council meeting on August 7. She did not attend the meeting last year.

On Friday, the Trinamool Congress chief met President Droupadi Murmu too. Last month, Murmu became the first Adivasi woman to be elected to the country’s top constitutional post.

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