Mamata Banerjee Urges Centre to Sanction Rs 25,000 Crore for West Bengal in Light of Coronavirus Outbreak

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Kolkata: Raising concern over the financial burden faced by states as India grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to sanction a grant of a minimum of Rs 25,000 crore.

“The manner in which the financial situation of states is rapidly deteriorating, our suggested relaxations on debt and debt management, even if accepted, would not be enough. Therefore, I earnestly urge you to sanction a grant of a minimum Rs 25,000 crore and release the funds still due to us from central government,” she wrote.

“To uphold the spirit of cooperative federalism, we need this minimum help from the central government to cope with this unprecedented impasse at this hour to fight against COVID-19,” she added.

At a press conference later, Banerjee said a total of 71 people from the state have been identified who attended the Markaz at Nizamuddin in New Delhi last month and all of them are in isolation. "Among these, 40 are foreigners from Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand," she said, requesting those who had visited Nizamuddin to inform their district authorities.

The congregation in Nizamuddin has sparked off a chain of coronavirus cases in the country, with six men from Telangana who participated in it dying of coronavirus.

Banerjee said it is not the time for communal politics, "it is time to contain this virus first".

Banerjee said West Bengal's chief secretary will attend a video-conferencing meeting with Modi on Thursday. "The fact is this is not for chief ministers. We are not part of this meeting. It will be attended by the chief secretaries," she said.

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