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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Bengal bailout plan still a sore point

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 04, 2012
First Published: 20:09 IST(4/5/2012) | Last Updated: 01:13 IST(5/5/2012)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s offer to help West Bengal get out of the debt crisis failed to convince chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday.

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In her meeting with Singh, ahead of the crucial presidential poll, Banerjee reportedly rejected the stringent conditions attached to the three-year moratorium on the Rs. 18,100 - crore interest payment.

She later told reporters, “I will wait for a few days for the Centre to respond to my demand for the package and then decide what can be done politically.”
Bengal had sought a three-year moratorium on interest repayment from the Centre.

Top UPA sources told Hindustan Times the Centre was ready to grant Rs. 22,000 crore annually for three years to help the state overcome its annual burden of loan repayment that includes the interest payment.

But as the offer carried certain conditions for the state, such as improvement in its revenues and adherence to a strict repayment schedule, Banerjee didn’t accept it.
 
“We need help from the Centre. But half-hearted measures won’t do,” she said.

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