Ahead of the coming presidential polls, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday served a virtual ultimatum to the Centre, on the issue of West Bengal's persistent fiscal troubles, saying that she won't wait longer than a fortnight for the settlement of the problem pending for the last 11 months.
Addressing a gathering of the State's civil service cadres (West Bengal Civil Service – WBCS), she also spoke of her plans to launch a channel, and a publication for highlighting the achievements of her government.
“They [the Centre] are trying to make sure that this government cannot do its work. They are trying to sever our lifeline. While they aren't even allowing me moratoriums on loans, they have recently also taken Rs. 1500 crore of our dues by way of Central Sales Tax. I have waited for long, made many visits, but now I won't wait longer than a fortnight,” she said.
Turning her attention to the press, she said it were refusing to highlight the government's good work. “You are working so hard, your work scope has expanded as there are so many projects these days — but the slander campaign continues. So, we are planning to launch our own channel, and also a publication to provide a fair evaluation of our work,” Ms. Banerjee said.
Charter of demands
Glancing through the charter of demands given to her by the WBCS officers, she said that she was accepting 90 per cent of them. “I would like to hike your special allowance from Rs. 250 to Rs. 1000…at least Rs. 500 to start with,” she said, turning to her Finance Minister Amit Mitra, as if seeking his approval.