According to Amit Mitra, the new finance minister of West Bengal, the Left government that was in power in the state for the last 34 years borrowed the amount of money to ensure salaries of its employees and interests accrued on loans are paid off.
Quoting figures from the Reserve Bank of India data, Mitra, the former FICCI secretary-general said that the state stood at a negative balance of Rs 16,441 crore. He argued, “These are authentic figures and there is no scope of denying them."
He also said that in the period between November 2010 and March 2011, the Budhadeb Bhattacharjee government left unpaid bills to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore on work done by various agencies attached with 27 departments.
And now with an empty coffer at his disposal, he has his task cut out and the state government is now chalking out a two-pronged strategy to handle the crisis.
Mitra said, "First our officials will go to Delhi, then I will follow and finally Mamata Banerjee will finalize the deal with Pranab Mukherjee and the Prime Minister."