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6 Feb 2017

Allowance pittance, says rural body chief

TT, Siliguri, Feb. 5: Tapas Sarkar, the sabhadhipati of the Left-run Siliguri Mahakuma Parishad, today said the monthly allowance for elected representatives heading three-tier rural bodies was inadequate to run their families.
"We used to get Rs 4,000 as monthly allowance which the chief minister has recently revised to Rs 5,500. The amount is, however, too meagre and with that, we cannot do much as far as our family expenses are concerned. We sabhadhipatis are considered to be on a par with a minister of state (MOS). An MOS, however, gets a monthly allowance of Rs 17,000, along with some additional allowances of around Rs 12,000 a year. We feel the state government should seriously think of our grievance," Sarkar told a news conference here today.
While attending a conference convened by the state panchayat and rural development department at Netaji Indoor Stadium in Calcutta on Friday, the chief minister had announced that the government would pay a monthly honorarium of Rs 1,500 for elected members of panchayats, panchayat samitis and zilla parishads and include them in the state's heath scheme.
The chief minister also raised by amounts ranging between Rs 800 and Rs 1,500 the salaries of office-bearers such as the sabhadhipatis and upa-sabhadhipatis of the zilla parishads, the sabhapatis and saha-sabhapatis of the panchayat samitis, the pradhans and upa-pradhans of the gram panchayat and the karmadhaykshas of the panchayat samitis and zilla parishads.
Sarkar said while taking oath as the sabhadhipati, he had to give an undertaking that he would not be associated with other occupation, be it a job or a business.
"This means, the monthly allowance is our sole source of earning and it is tough to meet the family's expenditure with this meagre amount," he added.
Sarkar said he had written to the chief minister about six months back, seeking a revision of the pay.

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