MP FINANCE: Bengal not to follow MP hike

MP FINANCE: Bengal not to follow MP hike – more money to be made on the take & through corruption, while maintaining a moral façade ?!! Take the money offered, but please do be honest and accountable, too much to ask ?!!

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Malda, Aug. 23: Bengal has refused to be inspired by Delhi.

Finance minister Asim Dasgupta today described the hike in the allowances of members of Parliament as unjustified and said the state would not follow suit.

Dasgupta, who is on a trip here to assess the drought situation in the district, said the MLAs in Bengal got an allowance of Rs 12,000 a month, while ministers received Rs 7,500 and ministers of state Rs 6,000. “We had raised the MLA’s allowance from Rs 8,000 to Rs 12,000 after an all-party meeting a year ago.”

The minister said the Left did not support the hike in MPs’ allowances. “The MLAs and ministers in our state get far less than their counterparts in most of the states, but the ministers get transport facilities and other allowances as well and that is why there is no need for any increment. We have to face difficulties, but we are proud that there is no huge financial divide between us and the public,” he said.

Dasgupta said the Left MPs had protested both inside and outside Parliament against the hike. “But whether they will accept the raised amount will be decided by the party.”

Sitting beside Dasgupta, minister of state for civil defence Srikumar Mukherjee, said the Rs 6,000 he got was a small amount. “Today the prices have gone up and what can you do with this amount.”

However, animal resources development minister Narayan Biswas and relief minister Mortaza Alam supported Dasgupta. “The manner in which the MPs descended into the well of the House and created a furore over their allowance sent a wrong message to the people. Today they got another hike of Rs 10,000. We are ashamed,” Alam said.

Drought relief

Asim Dasgupta today announced a Rs 23 crore drought relief package for Malda and the two Dinajpurs. After holding meetings with officials from the three districts, he sanctioned Rs 15 crore for Malda, Rs 5 crore for North Dinajpur and Rs 3 crore for South Dinajpur.

While he was making the announcement, it was raining outside the district collectorate here. “With the rain, Malda’s situation will improve to a great degree,” the finance minister said.

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