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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeks chamber's help in setting finances right

PTI 07 Nov 2014, 16:37:08 PM IST

Kolkata: After futile efforts to wrest a financial package from the Centre during the past UPA-II and present NDA regime, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today turned to an industry body to plead for the state's case.       

"After coming to power three-and-half years back, we have got political freedom and no economic freedom. So I request you to please raise your voices before the Centre," Banerjee said here at the FICCI National Executive Council.       

She said that her government after 35 years of Left rule had for the first time implemented the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act to discipline the state's finances.

"The earlier government (Left Front) did not do that. But in spite of that, the Centre was taking away money from the exchequer for the legacy which we have inherited.       

"If somebody commits a mistake, why should we be punished ? This is thwarting the development of the state in every way," she said.        

West Bengal, Banerjee said, cannot be compared with other states and despite all hurdles it had an increased revenue generation over the last three years from Rs 21,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore.        

"But accrual to the state exchequer is negative because the Centre immediately takes away the money," she said.PTI dc KK

"FICCI should pass a resolution on lines that the Centre should not deduct money from the state exchequer," Banerjee said.       

Despite all odds, the state has progressed in the fields of GSDP, industry, agriculture and services," she said quoting supporting data as of August 2014.      

 In a bid to allay apprehensions on state's land policy, the chief minister said "The government will give you land and you do your business. We have a land bank. The government will not interfere ... I do not want land acquisition by firing and coercion."  Criticising her detractors, Banerjee said some 'jealous people' were not 'seeing' the development taking place in the state. "This is a political vendetta which some are taking recourse to."       

Citing the instances of once troubled hotspots of Junglemahal and Darjeeling, she said peace had returned in both the places.       

She urged the industrialists present at the meet to consider investments in tourism in places like Sagar Islands, Sunderbans, besides in healthcare.       

Later, when media asked to comment on the chief minister's request to the chamber, FICCI president Siddharth Birla said that the industry body did not have the jurisdiction to tread into Centre-state financial relations.       

"She has made a request and we at best can articulate the problems faced by the state to the Centre," he said.