It is West Bengal's right to seek a three-year moratorium on interest payments on central loans, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, adding: "We are not beggars."
"It is not about being hopeful or not hopeful (about the moratorium). It is our right. The Bengal government deserves it. When the same thing happened in Punjab in 2000, they had also received a moratorium for six years. It is not a special package that we are asking for," she told reporters ahead of a chief ministers' meet in New Delhi.
"The central government cannot evade its responsibility. The prime minister before the elections had promised to help Bengal. The central government had supported Left Front when they had taken the debt. We are not beggars. The interest moratorium that we are asking for is our right," she said.
Last month, Ms Banerjee had given the central government 15 days to decide on the moratorium but later back-tracked saying it was an appeal not an ultimatum.
The state government pays an interest of around Rs.2,200 crore on central loans taken during the previous Left Front regime.