Congress fooling people on food security: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, Feb 4 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday alleged that the Congress-led central government was talking about the food security bill to hoodwink people before next year's general elections.

The chief minister flayed the Congress-led central government for repeatedly raising diesel, petrol and fertilizer prices and ridiculed union ministers for claiming that the state government was only implementing central government schemes.

"They are saying they would give food grain to poor people. They are making such promises only because of the coming polls. They never thought about the people when they repeatedly raised diesel, petrol and fertilizer prices," Banerjee said at a workshop of the Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad, Trinamool Yuva and Trinamool Youth Congress here.

"In the budget before the elections there will be more such promises, but their intention is not to implement their promises. Everybody is not as transparent as us," she added.

On criticism by some union ministers from the state that the projects being highlighted as success stories by the Trinamool Congress government were all funded by the union government, she said: "Whose money is it anyway?"

"Every year the centre takes Rs.40,000 crore from West Bengal but pumps back only a miniscule amount for use by the state government in welfare projects," she added.

The chief minister said the state government generates Rs.21,000 crore as revenue, but the centre takes away Rs.26,000 crore as repayment of central loans and payment of interest.

"Let them allow the state governments to collect all the taxes instead of the centre. We will show you what rural development is," she said.

Conceding that the state government does not have enough funds to pay salaries to its employees, she said: "We are dipping into the non-plan budgetary accounts for this."

Banerjee said the central government has deducted money from the state on the grounds that it needed funds for implementing the Food Security Bill.

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