Mamata Banerjee Meets PM, Requests Urgent Release Of Dues For Bengal

The meeting between PM Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee has set off much speculation, coming days after the arrest of Partha Chatterjee by the Enforcement Directorate.

New Delhi:

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening and pressed for immediate release of pending dues to the state under several Central schemes, which her government has been demanding for long. "I request for urgent release of funds due to state for implementation of schemes including MGNREGA, PM Awas Yojna & PM Gramin Sadak Yojna... Dues from the Central government on these schemes amount to about Rs 17.996 crore," read the letter she submitted to PM Modi.

"Substantial amount on account of many developments and welfare schemes... estimated to be around Rs 1,00,968.44 crore is also due... With such large amount remaining outstanding, state is facing extreme difficulty to run affairs and take care of the people of the state," added the letter, reported news agency ANI.

Bengal has frequently accused the BJP-ruled Centre of delaying GST dues to states, especially the ones ruled by the opposition.

In June, Amit Mitra, principal chief advisor to the Bengal Chief Minister, alleged that the Centre has not released integrated dues to the tune of Rs 27,000 crore to states.

The meeting, however, has set off much speculation, coming days after the arrest of Partha Chatterjee by the Enforcement Directorate. The minister, arrested after piles of cash were found at the house of his aide Arpita Mukherjee, was known to be a close confidante of Ms Banerjee.

In Bengal, the meeting has become a flashpoint between the BJP and the ruling Trinamol Congress. The Trinamool has demanded the arrest of state BJP leader Dilip Ghosh for what they called "inappropriate remarks"against Ms Banerjee and her family.

Ms Banerjee is in Delhi on a four-day visit during which she is likely to meet non-Congress Opposition leaders. Later today, she is scheduled to meet President Droupadi Murmu.

On August 7, the Chief Minister will attend a Niti Aayog meeting, which will be chaired by PM Modi. The Governing Council meeting will focus on issues related to agriculture, health and economy would be discussed.

Ms Banerjee had skipped the council's meet last year. She is expected to raise the concerns of non-payment of GST dues and federalism issues at this year's meeting.