Mamata Announces 6% DA, CPM Protests procedure
Calcutta, Nov 20 (PTI): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced an additional instalment of dearness allowance for state government employees, sparking protests by the Opposition CPI-M and Congress.
Mamata, who appeared in the House to give a statement on the price rise situation during question hour, said that despite all the financial constraints the state was facing, the employees would get a six per cent increase in DA from January 2014.
War of words broke out between the Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition and CPI(M) member Surjya Kanta Mishra, who contended that Mamata was not following the Assembly rules in making the statement as it also required a debate amongst all parties.
Mishra also said that the Chief Minister came to the House for a statement on the price rise, but announced DA rise for the state government employees. Mamata contested it and said the issues were related.
The Chief Minister said she should not be guided by the Leader of the Opposition on what is to be done and asked the Speaker to allow Mishra to speak for some time.
Speaker Biman Banerjee interrupted and said under the Assembly rules, the Chief Minister can make a statement in the House on any important matter and no question should be asked while the statement was being made.
At this point Subrata Mukherjee, a member of Mamata’s Trinamul Congress party, intervened to say that Mishra's intention was clear and aimed at interrupting the Chief Minister, which is condemnable.
It was very much within the rules and conventions of the Assembly, he asserted.
While Mamata was blaming the Centre and its policies for causing the rise in prices of essential commodities, Congress members stood up shouting and asked the Speaker to allow them to speak, which was not entertained.
They subsequently walked out.
Apparently annoyed, Mamata said that neither the Congress, the CPM nor the BJP would form the government at the Centre.
Mamata said people are fed up with the Centre and regional parties would form the government.
She also said the state government would supply certified potato seeds to 30,000 farmers in the four districts of Hooghly, Burdwan, West Midnapore and Birbhum at much lower rates than what procured from Punjab.
The seeds were being developed by scientists in the state, she said. “This was a baby step and let us see the result,” she said.
Mamata said that efforts were also being made to develop seeds of other vegetables like onion.
West Bengal also needed to be self-sufficient in fish and egg supplies and become less dependent on other states and do away with the transportation costs, she added.
The chief minister also announced that 100,000 tonnes of potato would be sent to Odisha as the situation was grave there.
She said that potato prices were higher in Tripura than West Bengal.
Mamata also demanded that the Centre devolve 70 per cent of the total tax collection from West Bengal to the state.