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10 Jul 2018

CM iterates austerity mantra... Officials told to draw in horns

Mamata at the administrative review meeting of Jalpaiguri district. Picture by Passang Yolmo
BIRESWAR BANERJEE, TT, Jul 10, 2018, Siliguri: Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday chanted the mantra of austerity and asked administrative officials of Jalpaiguri district to cut down "unnecessary expenditure".

Mamata arrived here on a five-day visit and held an administrative review meeting of Jalpaiguri district at Uttarkanya, the branch secretariat in Siliguri. She made some important announcements pertaining to north Bengal.

"It would be wrong to perceive that you can't even spend on tea, biscuits, food and bouquets. But you need to spend less. The expenditure of our government is on the rise as we have to meet several increased expenses like revised salaries and many other purposes, ranging from cycles under Sabuj Sathi scheme to the modernisation of police force. That is why we need to cut down costs as much as possible," the chief minister told the officials.

Her assertion follows a recent decision taken by the state to bring down expenditure. The government has issued a circular in this regard.

Mamata, while attending the review meeting, announced that the circuit bench of Calcutta High Court would be opened in Jalpaiguri next month. "The circuit bench.... it was a longstanding demand of Jalpaiguri residents and north Bengal... will open on August 17. I will be there at the event," she said.

The announcement comes a day after a high level team of the Calcutta High Court led by Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya inspected the temporary infrastructure for the circuit bench.

The chief minister said the state had decided to bring in some new areas of Siliguri subdivision and adjoining areas in the hills under the jurisdiction of Siliguri Metropolitan Police.

"Areas like Naxalbari, Phansidewa, Sukna and Sevoke should be brought under Siliguri Metropolitan Police. A necessary plan needs to be drawn up for this change of jurisdiction," she said.

In course of the meeting, Mamata inquired about the progress of different social schemes, including the 100-day-work scheme in Jalpaiguri district. She also took details about the status of tea estates in the central Dooar.

Mamata was told by ministers Gautam Deb and Aroop Biswas that works by the state government had finished at Gazoldoba, the site of the mega tourism hub.

Some of the private groups which have taken plots on the site to build accommodation and other infrastructure are delaying projects, the ministers said.

Mamata said: "Letters should be sent to these private groups, asking them to expedite the projects. We cannot afford delay in the projects and in case they are not interested, the plots can be handed over to some other companies," she said.

On Wednesday, she will visit Changrabandha, located around 80km from here, and attend an administrative review meeting of Cooch Behar district at a community hall, sources said.

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