Kolkata: Union Minister Pranab Mukherjee`s
claim of West Bengal moving towards a debt trap was made to
appease his party`s ally Trinamool Congress and thereby gain
mileage in the Assembly elections, the CPI-M said on Wednesday.
"Pranab Mukherjee knows very well that mere borrowing
does not make a state financially bankrupt," CPI-M mouthpiece
`Ganashakti` said in its editorial page today.
It said that to give legitimacy to Trinamool`s "absurd"
claim of financial bankruptcy, the Union finance minister
forgot to mention that the central government`s total loan
amount ran upto Rs 35.68 lakh crore.
"If the West Bengal government has become financially
bankrupt, the Centre has already turned so," the daily said
claiming that Mukherjee made the statement on Monday here
"knowing fully well as an economist that no economy can
develop without loan or borrowing".
Stating that the West Bengal government`s loan till
2010-11 stood at Rs 1.86 lakh crore, the CPI-M daily claimed
that the total loan amount of several states stood at Rs 18.20
"The loans taken by Maharashtra and UP are greater than
those taken by West Bengal. One will have to find out whether
West Bengal is bankrupt or the central government is
bankrupt," it said.
Earlier, Mukherjee had stated during the periodic review
that three states were likely to be in debt trap situation by
2014-15 and West Bengal is one of them.
He said that in 2009-10, the total outstanding debt of
the state stood at Rs 1,62,000 crore.
Chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee had previously
brushed aside Mamata Banerjee`s claim that his government was
on the brink of a debt trap, saying "it is a baseless claim
that we are not in a position to pay salaries to state staff".