Bengal minister urges Pranab to bail out state

The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal govt once again raised its demand for settling its debts.

Kolkata: The Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government Sunday once again raised its demand for settling its debts, with a minister of the cash-starved state urging union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to bail it out of its huge burden.

"Now we look forward to you (Mukherjee) and the prime minister to do something for West Bengal.. at least there must be a scheme to helping out our state for changing the atmosphere for changing the unemployment problem and underdevelopment," state Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee said at a programme organised by industry lobby Assocham, where Mukherjee was also present.

"I am confident the government of India with Pranabda at the helm of affairs will look forward and bail out the debt burden for which the new government is not responsible," Chatterjee added.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee recently said the debt burden bequeathed by the erstwhile Left Front government in the state could be more than the estimated Rs 2.3 lakh crore. The state government has to pay Rs.22,000 crore per year as interest and part of the principal on account of servicing the debt.

Banerjee has also kept on insisting that since the new government has inherited this huge quantum of debt burden, the central government should find a way to waive these loans or settle the debt.