Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been vocal about the frequent hikes in fuel prices in recent times. During a press conference held at the state secretariat in Kolkata on April 5, she compared India’s condition to its neighbor Sri Lanka. She also expressed her concerns over the delays made by the Governor of the state in clearing major appointments to different positions in the state government. Here are some of the excerpts from the press conference on Monday.
‘Worse than Sri Lanka’: Banerjee questions frequent fuel price hikes
Banerjee slammed the central government, led by Narendra Modi, at the press conference over the frequent hikes in fuel prices. She even claimed that the condition of the country has turned worse than Sri Lanka. She called the economic condition in Sri Lanka bad, but the situation in India “is worse.”
She further added that the central government has shown no efforts to combat the hike in fuel prices. The Chief Minister held the BJP responsible for the fuel crisis, and called the recent hike a “return gift” to the nation by the party after emerging victorious at the UP elections.
She expressed her concerns over how the prices of all other commodities are rising due to the hike in fuel prices, leading to a really bad situation. Her advice to the center was to call an all-party meeting immediately to discuss and find a solution to the currency economic crisis in the country, rather than leveraging the power of central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI against the political opponents.
It is worth mentioning in this regard that the diesel and petrol prices rose by 40 paise/liter each on April 5. It is the 12th rise in prices after over four months of break in fuel rate revision. On the other hand, at the beginning of this month, Sri Lanka completely ran out of diesel as its sales were stopped across the country. There are record-long blackouts in Lanka, along with a crippling transportation system.
Governor not clearing files on major state appointments
The Chief Minister also accused Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar of delaying the files related to major appointments in many of the key posts in state government. Citing an example, Banerjee said that the documents related to the appointment of the chairman of the Human Rights Commission and the commissioners of the Right to Information have been with him for approval for over six months now.
Apart from dilly-dallying over major appointments, the Governor is also said to have refused to clear the state budget. Banerjee claimed that she had to call him up just to remind him that it is his obligation. On that call, he is said to have asked several questions to the Chief Minister. The latter claims that it is an attempt by the ruling party at the center to run a parallel government in all non-BJP states by appointing governors.
She mentioned that the apex court directs the West Bengal government to fill all important vacancies. However, this has not been possible because of Dhankhar delaying his approval on the files.