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Congress mum on Banerjee's 15-day ultimatum for W. Bengal debt relief

New Delhi, Sun, 22 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 22 (ANI): The Congress Party on Sunday refused to comment on the 15-day deadline issued by West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee to the Centre to announce debt relief for her state.

"I don't know what Mamata has said. But the Central Government seriously considers the financial aid sought by any state government. The Central Government always extends whatever help is possible," said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi.

Banerjee on Saturday gave the Congress-led UPA Government 15 days to announce a moratorium on repayment of loans her government has inherited from the Left regime.

Alvi also condemned the abduction of District Magistrate Paul Alex Menon by Maoists, and urged the opposition parties to support the government's National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).

"I condemn the kidnapping of whether it is MLA (member of legislative assembly) or a DM (district magistrate). We think that everybody should come together to build a consensus on the NCTC, which has been formulated by the Central Government to combat militancy," said Alvi.

In an audacious daylight operation, Maoist rebels on Saturday abducted Alex Paul Menon from the middle of a meeting with villagers.

Menon, an IAS officer of 2006 batch, was kidnapped from Majhipara village in Keralapal area of the Naxal-infected district.

The Sukma district collector's kidnapping comes even as uncertainty continues over the fate of ruling BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka in neighbouring Odisha who was abducted by the Maoists about a month ago.

Menon is the first collector of the newly-created Sukma district and was known to be pro-active in undertaking development work in the backward region. (ANI)

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