Kolkata

Demand financial package from Centre, Mamata tells industrialists

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, FICCI president Sidharth Birla(right) and industrialist Harshavardhan Neotia at the FICCI meeting inKolkata on Friday. Photo: Sushanta Patranabish.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, FICCI president Sidharth Birla(right) and industrialist Harshavardhan Neotia at the FICCI meeting inKolkata on Friday. Photo: Sushanta Patranabish.   | Photo Credit: SUSHANTA PATRONOBISH

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“Please raise the voice for us… It is not that I am asking for undue advantage”

Claiming that West Bengal has got "political freedom but no economic freedom" Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday urged industrialists to demand financial package for the State.

“Please raise the voice for us… It is not that I am asking for an undue advantage. The Central Government is taking away all the money from our treasury. It is not our fault,” Ms Banerjee said at the FICCI National Executive Council meeting here.

The Trinamool Congress Government has been demanding financial package and moratorium on interest payment for three years but neither the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) nor the present National Democratic Alliance government has obliged it.

The Chief Minister brought the issue to the fore before a premier industry body and urged them to raise the issue. During interactions with the industry captions, she on numerous occasions referred to financial constraints being a road block to development.

“If somebody commits a mistake, why should we be punished?” Ms Banerjee asked.

The Chief Minister urged industrialists to participate in large numbers at the Biswa Bangla Conference, a meeting scheduled in January.

Tea gardens

In another crucial announcement, the Chief Minister said the State government is planning to auction five tea gardens in north Bengal.

“These tea gardens have 700-1,000 acres of land. You can build up your business there. You can develop a new Darjeeling there,” she told industrialists.

It was not clear whether the Chief Minister was referring to the sick and closed tea gardens of north Bengal or the five tea gardens of the West Bengal Tea Development Corporation, a government undertaking.

Ms Banerjee’s remark has raised concerns among tea workers’ union who have raised questions on what will be the fate of the workers there.

In response to a question on the crisis in the jute sector, the Chief Minister said “jute industry has its own problems” and the employees and the non-employees should sit together and settle the dispute.

She announced that State Finance Minister Amit Mitra along with Labour Minister Moloy Ghatak will call a meeting to sort out the crisis in the jute industry.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:47:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/demand-financial-package-from-centre-mamata-tells-industrialists/article6577414.ece

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