Mamata`s coercive tactics to help Punjab: Badal

If the Centre succumbs to the "coercive tactics" of Mamata on the issue debt waiver to West Bengal, Punjab is ought to benefit, CM Parkash Singh said.

Rakhra (Patiala): If the Centre succumbs to the "coercive tactics" of Mamata Banerjee on the issue debt waiver to West Bengal, Punjab is ought to benefit as it has been categorised as "debt stressed" state by the 13th Finance Commission, Chief Minister Parkash Singh on Saturday said.

Centre cannot apply different yardsticks for similarly placed states, he said.

"If the Centre succumbs to the pressure of Mamata Banerjee, our state is ought to be benefitted because West Bengal, Kerala and Punjab had already been categorised as debt stressed states by the 13th Finance Commission and therefore Centre can`t apply different yardsticks for the similarly placed states," Badal said.

Mamata had recently hardened her stance on the demand for a three-year moratorium on interest payment on loans, saying that her support to UPA`s presidential candidate would depend on the resolution of the moratorium issue. She also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this month on the loan waiver.

Badal was talking to reporters after attending the fourth death anniversary of Jaswant Kaur, the mother of Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Surjeet Singh Rakhra, here.

Responding to a question about the burden of debt on the state, Badal said "Mamata`s ultimatum given to the Centre on either waiving the outstanding debt or seeking moratorium on its repayment should not be construed merely as efforts on her part rather these were `coercive tactics` aimed at bringing Congress-led UPA government on the negotiation table to accede her demand."
Replying to another question regarding the misuse of Central funds by the state government as alleged by the Opposition from time to time, Badal said that it was a misnomer as the Centre was not doling out anything special package to the states rather it was duty bound to pay back their share from the revenue collected in form of Income Tax, Central Excise and others such taxes from the states.

Badal said that it was "highly deplorable" on the part of the Centre to impose stringent parameters like availing funds under the centrally sponsored schemes like Rashtriya Krishi Yojna (RKY) and Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna (PMGSY).
"Development and prosperity in terms of cent-percent coverage under canal irrigation and rural connectivity through link roads achieved by the state in early 1970`s had now become a deterrent in the way of qualifying for Government of India`s criteria to seek grants to sustain the tempo of overall development," Badal claimed.


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