West Bengal will stop paying GST if Centre does not release funds: Mamata Banerjee | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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West Bengal will stop paying GST if Centre does not release funds: Mamata Banerjee

Nov 15, 2022 08:10 PM IST

The chief minister and other Trinamool Congress leaders have been alleging for a while that the Centre froze its flow of funds for several projects

Stepping up attack against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the state may stop paying the goods and services tax (GST) if the central government refuses to release funds for developmental projects.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee waves to the crowd during a programme in Jhargram on Tuesday. (AITC Twitter)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee waves to the crowd during a programme in Jhargram on Tuesday. (AITC Twitter)

“They (Centre) threatened me that they will stop releasing all the funds. Even we can stop it. Why would people continue to pay the GST? You are unilaterally collecting GST and not paying the people. The country is for the people and not the politicians. This is treachery and betrayal,” Banerjee said while addressing an event in Jhargram district on the occasion of the birth anniversary of tribal freedom fighter Birsa Munda.

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“A year back, I went and met the Prime Minister in this regard. Does he want me to touch his feet now? Give back our money or stop GST. Give back our money or leave the seat of power,” she said.

The chief minister and other Trinamool Congress leaders have been alleging for a while that the Centre froze its flow of funds for several projects such as the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Also Read:‘Don’t need Delhi’s money...’: Mamata Banerjee’s dig at Centre

“The Centre is not releasing funds for the 100-day-work scheme. It is the right of those who have worked under the scheme. By releasing funds, they are not showing any mercy. It is our Constitutional right and mandatory that the Centre releases funds,” she added.

The BJP hit back by saying that the Centre had to tighten its grip after the state government failed to submit accounts of the funds used.

“It is not that the Centre didn’t release any funds all these years. But when a central team came for inspection, they found gross anomalies. Funds provided under central schemes were siphoned off and spent arbitrarily without any checks and balance. When the Centre has asked for the accounts, the state couldn’t submit. The chief minister knows very well she can’t stop paying GST. She is making such statements to save her face,” BJP leader Rahul Sinha said.

Due to lack of funds, work on several key developmental projects slowed down ahead of the crucial panchayat polls in West Bengal, scheduled for the first half of 2023.

“Some opposition parties that do not want any development in the state wrote letters to the Centre to stop releasing funds to West Bengal. Is this money their ancestral property? This is people’s money and not BJP’s money,” the chief minister said.

Earlier this year, West Bengal leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikary wrote to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman alleging that the state government was illegally diverting funds meant for central schemes.

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