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Bista seeks ‘white paper’ on state fiscal health

“If this is the condition of KMC, which is the largest and richest, one can only wonder at the precarious financial condition of the entire state as the total debt burden of West Bengal state has risen up to Rs 5.62 lakh crores, and there has not been a single policy announcement made by the TMC government towards addressing this ever-increasing financial burden on the state”

Statesman News Service | Siliguri |

The Trinamool Congress-led state government should come up with a ‘white paper; on the scale of financial crisis facing Kolkata Municipal Corporation as well as the state as a whole, BJP’s MP from Darjeeling Raju Bista has said. Mr Bista, who is also one of the party’s national spokespersons, today criticized the state government, following a notification in the KMC related to funds crunch and a halt in the payment of pension for retired employees.

“The financial mismanagement under the TMC government has reached epic proportions, with the government not being able to fund paying salaries as well as pensions of thousands of workers across the state,” Mr Bista said, adding, “The recent announcement by the KMC to stop the pension of all the employees who retired after September 2021 due to a funds crunch is another nail in the economic coffin of West Bengal.”

Notably, KMC mayor Firhad Hakim has said: “I have asked the commissioner to begin investigations to identify the persons who issued the notice. It was unjust whoever did it.” “We are facing a financial crisis. I have pointed it out in the meeting and even today I should say facing crisis of Rs 1,000 crore. But it doesn’t mean pension would be stopped,” Mr Hakim has said.

But, significantly, Mr Bista, who is in Siliguri presently, said: “Not only is the KMC stopping payment of pension to the retired employees, but the civic body has failed to give money to the daily wage labourers and contract staff for the past eight months. By doing so, the TMC government has put in jeopardy the lives of thousands of employees and their family members.” “This has left thousands of KMC workers and retired employees suffering through economic hardships,” Mr Bista claimed, ahead of the Siliguri Municipal Corporation elections due on 12 February.

“If this is the condition of KMC, which is the largest and richest, one can only wonder at the precarious financial condition of the entire state as the total debt burden of West Bengal state has risen up to Rs 5.62 lakh crores, and there has not been a single policy announcement made by the TMC government towards addressing this ever-increasing financial burden on the state. This situation also puts to question the financial viability of all municipalities and municipal corporations across the state, which have suffered due to TMC fiscal mismanagement,” the Darjeeling MP added.

It may be noted here that a video has gone viral related to the state government’s Lakshmi’r Bhandar scheme, where several women are asking each other whether payment of Lakshmi’r Bhandar will be stopped! Many people, even TMC party insiders, have been saying that state is facing a financial burden paying Rs 500 per month to beneficiaries across the state.