Time constraint will prevent West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to have a separate meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her two-day visit to New Delhi, beginning on Friday, and raising the issue of huge unpaid goods & service tax (GST) arrears from the Centre.
The Chief Minister will reach the national capital on Friday to attend the “Chief Justices-Chief Ministers Conference” on Saturday. Highly placed sources from the state government said that although some attempts were made for a short but separate meeting between the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, the time slot is not available.
Asked about this issue, Banerjee said that this time the separate meeting is not happening because of time constraints. “I will be going to New Delhi and return on Saturday evening only. I have engagements on the occasion of Labour Day on May 1. After that I also have several engagements on occasion of Eid al-Fitr celebrations. So, this time the separate meeting will not be possible,” she said.
On whether she would send a separate letter to the Prime Minister on these issues, the Chief Minister said that there is no point in forwarding another letter. “Previously I had written several letters to the Prime Minister on several issues. But nothing worked,” she said.
Banerjee also said that she fears that the Union government is going for a fresh round of raising fuel and cooking gas prices in the coming days. “Hence, as an excuse, the Prime Minister, on Wednesday, asked the state government to reduce state VAT on petrol and diesel,” she claimed.
On Wednesday, the Chief Minister said that if the total GST dues of the state from the Union government is over Rs 95,000 crore. “If the Union government pays us even half of that amount immediately, then the state government will give relief on VAT higher than that given by the BJP-ruled states,” she had said.