Trinamool accommodates 13 MLAs in first list of parliamentary secretaries

The cash-strapped state government, which is facing a tough challenge on how to overcome the financial crisis, on Monday announced the first list of 13 parliamentary secretaries, each of whom will get monthly salaries of Rs 8,200 apart from other perks and allowances.

In the last Assembly session, the state government had cleared West Bengal Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowance and Miscellaneous Provision) Bill, to create posts of parliamentary secretaries who will give advice to state ministers. The move had raised eyebrows in the political circle with many saying that the Trinamool-led government had created the posts to accommodate leaders who could not secure a ministerial berth.

Thirteen Trinamool MLAs who found places in the first list of parliamentary secretaries are Amal Acharya (Itahar) Biplab Mitra (Harirampur), Rabindranath Ghosh (Natabari), Sasi Panja (Shyampukur), Asima Patra (Dhaniakhali), Ashis Banerjee (Rampurhat), Ramakanta Maiti (Debra), Tapas Roy (Baranagar), Ashoke Deb (BudgeBudge), Nasiruddin Ahmed (Kaligunj) and ATM Abdullah (Basirhat North).

A Trinamool minister said, beside the monthly honariam, each parliamentary secretary will get Rs 1,000 for attending office. They will also get a car. Trinamool sources said before the last expansion of Cabinet, the names of Acahrya, Mitra, Ghosh, Banerjee,Panja and Roy were discussed. But they could not be given a ministerial berth as Mamata choose some others, causing a rift in the party. To address the issue, the Trinamool government decided to bring back a legislation of the British rule regarding appointment of parliamentary secretaries.

Not only in the political circle, the move to reintroduce a British era legislation caused major disappointment among the finance department officials. The officials questioned that how would they manage the state coffer if the policy makers continue to impose financial burden on the state exchequer. "The state government has already spent more money from non-planned account than what was projected in the budget. The state's non-plan expenditure is around Rs 82,000 crore but the state has already spent nearly Rs 200 crore more, even though three months are still left of present fiscal year," a finance department official wondered.

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