The TMC on Wednesday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the order suspending MPLADS funds and requested him to respond to eight letters sent by the West Bengal government to the Centre with “legitimate demands” for funds. TMC MP Sudip Bandhopadhyay, who is the party’s leader of the house in Lok Sabha, conveyed this to the PM during his interaction with floor leaders of opposition and other parties on Wednesday which was held through video conferencing.
“I have requested the prime minister for a financial moratorium (for debt servicing) for West Bengal and to give the financial package of Rs 25,000 crore as demanded by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. I have also requested him not to suspend the MPLAD funds and told him that we are ready to give away our full salary,” he said.
“MPs have a good scope to go to the grassroots and help towards the development of the region. The state is also immensely benefited by it. Let the MPs forgo their salary in a much bigger way than just 30 per cent. Our CM does not take salary from the state exchequer. She has categorically asked me to convey this to you,” Bandhopadhyay said.
The government on Monday decided to suspend MPLADs for two years and transfer the money into the government”s consolidated fund. The money under MPLADS is around Rs 7,900 crore for two years: 2020-21 and 2021-22.
The TMC leader also said that the West Bengal chief minister has written letters to the PM demanding the release of Rs 25,000 crore to meet health and economic exigencies being faced by the state due to the pandemic and an additional Rs 36,000 crore in dues from the central sponsored and other government of India schemes, sources said.
“This huge amount of money should be considered with some sympathy and given to us. We have written eight letters including from our finance minister to the union finance minister for GST dues upto March 2020…we should also be given a moratorium for the Rs 56,000 crore loan that is a burden for us now,” he said.
He also urged the government to increase fiscal limit from three to five percent. The Bengal leader also flagged the shortage of not just PPEs but also of urgent medical equipment in the country. He also highlighted the need for a salary package for daily wagers, to open the stock of foodgrains and send out a strong message to stop layoffs, they said.
The TMC also said that discussions should be held with state CMs as they play a very important role in the control of coronavirus and they should be taken into confidence before a decision is taken. He also asked the PM to clarify the government’s stand on the issue of exporting hydroxychloroquine and asked him to come on record stating the availability of the antimalarial drug in the country. The TMC had earlier said it would not attend Wednesday’s meeting with the prime minister, but subsequently, changed its decision.