New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee met Finance Minister P. Chidambaram at the north block here on Thursday and voiced her concern for the farming community over the import of fertilizers.
Banerjee, who met Chidambaram for the first time after he took charge of the Finance Ministry, said the farmers are badly hit because of rise in the price of fertilizers.
"I met the Finance Minister for the first time after he took charge. I have some state issues regarding fertilizers. Farmers are badly affected because of the fertilizer price rise. I said that for fertilizers, you have to take some serious decisions so that the farmers should not suffer," said Banerjee.
Banerjee said: "In 2010 fertilisers were decontrolled, subsidies have been withdrawn from 75 percent of the maximum fertilizers". 75 percent of fertilizers are imported. Now the domestic fertilizer 'urea' is only 25 percent. The price rise is too much. Now, the farmers cannot even go for farming. So, it is a very disastrous situation. I said please save the farmers."
Banerjee pointed out that the farmers in West Bengal were poor as compared to those in Punjab.
" What Punjab can afford, Bengal cannot afford. ...Bihar is poor, Bengal is poor, and you will have to appreciate that. We cannot afford the imported fertilizers. It is very difficult. It hits the farmers' lives and their livelihood," said Banerjee.
"He (Chidambaram) said he will take care," she added.
Banerjee also raised her concern over the National Highways.
"We have so many national highways. But their condition is very bad. Especially National Highway-6, National Highway-34, National Highway-2, National Highway-11, the situation is very bad. We discussed that," she said.
Banerjee further said that she also discussed the financial situation in the country, and added that she would send West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra to meet Chidambaram.
"We also discussed the financial situation because he is the Finance Minister. I will be sending my Finance Minister to him. Whoever is the Finance Minister, the state government must meet him. And it is a continuous process, we will continue to do that," said Banerjee.
"Whenever a new Finance Minister comes, it is a customary for the state government to call on him. We must meet, sit together and take some policy decisions. I will send my Finance Minister Amit Mitra to him so that they can have a detailed discussion," she added.
Banerjee also opposed FDI in retail, insurance and pension.