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The cash-strapped West Bengal Government on Friday announced a bonanza for State government employees, including a scheme of granting foreign travel facility mainly to South East Asian and neighbourhood countries.
Ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled next year, she also announced a new pay commission, a hike in DA and sops for attending office on the bandh day.
The Opposition parties cried foul saying that the announcements violated model code of conduct since the elections have been announced in certain municipalities.
“Under the Leave Travel Concession, the State government employees will now get a chance to travel to Thailand, Singapore, Malayasia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka once in a decade,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Friday.
She was addressing a convention of the Trinamool Congress-backed State Government Employees Federation. She also announced that the State government employees will get 10 per cent Dearness Allowance (DA) from January 2016, instead of the earlier rate of seven per cent. Her announcement comes days after the Centre hiked DA for its employees by six per cent, widening the gap with the State Government by 54 per cent in this regard.
The Chief Minister also said that a Group of Ministers, headed by Finance Minister Amit Mitra, will be formed to look into the needs of the government employees.
“We will form the 6th Pay Commission which will work from January 1, 2016, till December 31, 2025,” she said.
Accusing the previous Left Front Government of putting the State under a huge debt burden, Ms. Banerjee said: “How dare the Communist Party of India-Marxist talk about finances? They ruined the economy of Bengal and have no right to point fingers at us.”
The CPI (M)-backed State Coordination Committee of West Bengal Government Employees’ Association and Union dubbed the Chief Minister’s announcements as an attempt to “hoodwink” the State government employees prior to the Assembly elections.
The State leadership of the BJP accused the Chief Minister of violating the model code of conduct that is already in force prior to the upcoming civic polls.
BJP general secretary Ashim Sarkar said: “Ms. Banerjee’s announcement of hike in DA is a gross violation of MCC as the polls in the Bidhannagar Municipality, Asansol Municipal Corporation (in Bardhaman) and in the Bally Municipality (recently merged with the Howrah Municipal Corporation) will be held on October 3.”
The State BJP was to lodge a complaint with the West Bengal State Election Commission in this regard on Friday.
The Left Front too demanded the intervention of the State Election Commission. In a letter to the State Election Commissioner S. R. Upadhyay, Left Front chairperson Biman Basu said that the Commission should take appropriate measures in this regard.
From: The Hindu