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Amit Mitra will quit as GST panel chairman if Centre continues to ignore him: Mamata

Kolkata: Accusing the central government of taking “unilateral decisions” on issues like Goods and Services Tax, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday threatened that state Finance Minister Amit Mitra Awould resign as chairman of the empowered committee on GST if it continued to “ignore” him.

“The Centre is not listening to us. They are taking unilateral decisions. We know that the unorganised sector and the small scale industry here would face a lot of problems. The film and the book industry would also be in trouble after the bill is implemented,” Banerjee alleged.

“We have given a strong letter to the Centre about this. Our state Chief Secretary is also writing a letter to them as he understands these issues well,” she said while interacting with businessmen during an administrative meeting in Hooghly district.

The Chief Minister alleged that Mitra, who is also the chairman of the empowered committee of state Finance Ministers, is “constantly ignored” by the central government.

“Amit Mitra is the chairman but because BJP has the majority, (Union Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley is saying things would be done according to their whims and fancies. Mitra has felt really insulted. We have asked him to attend the next meeting on GST in Delhi and raise his protest,” she said.

Banerjee said she has instructed Mitra to leave the committee if it does not listen to his views.

“I have given him the instruction to leave it and come back if they do not listen to him,” she said.

While the centre has decided to roll out the GST regime on July 1, the state government has argued that it was not ready and that small and medium-scale industries were not equipped to handle the new tax regime.

The state government has also sought reduction in the proposed rates for a number of products.

Banerjee urged all the industrialists to come together in protest against the central government’s decisions on GST.

“You guys are Hindi speaking people. Why don’t you say anything? Please do not be scared of them (BJP led centre). I can tell you that I am fighting for your cause, not them,” Banerjee told the representative of a pipe manufacturing association from the district.

“All the industries have to come together in this matter. If the industries are united they won’t have the audacity to take such unilateral decisions,” she added.

IANS