Calcutta, Nov. 5: After the babus, it’s their bosses.
Following Asim Dasgupta’s squeeze on expenditure by senior government employees, the CPM leadership today read the riot act to its ministers.
“Our ministers and elected representatives will have to reduce their expenditure side by side with the state government officials,” CPM state secretary Anil Biswas said.
The state CPM leadership today met all its ministers at the party headquarters on Alimuddin Street and instructed them to initiate measures to reduce spending. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, former chief minister Jyoti Basu and all the CPM ministers, except transport minister Subhas Chakraborty and minister for minority community development Mohammad Salim, attended the meeting.
It is believed that the party will submit a report on the ministers’ cost-control exercise during the state committee meeting on November 29. The party is expected to formulate some guidelines on the proposed reduction in spending and issue them on that day. These guidelines will be mandatory.
“Our objective is to reduce the expenditure of the government and explore new possibilities of earning more revenues. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today placed a report during the meeting and the party will help him find some more avenues to increase the income of the government,” Biswas said.
The party has also instructed its leaders to cut down on their expenses. “The ministers and elected representatives in our state enjoy less facilities than their counterparts in other states. Still, we are trying to curtail the expenditure incurred by them to cope with the funds crunch the government is facing at the moment.” Biswas added.
Biswas’ cost-control instruction to party leaders is a clear indication that the CPM is not happy with a section of spendthrift leaders. Their “lavish lifestyle” is resented and many feel that these leaders are responsible for tainting the party’s image.
Biswas said all the ministers have submitted the performance reports of their departments. The state secretariat will assess these reports and place its opinion during the state committee meeting.
The party apparently had asked the ministers to prepare a performance report of their departments immediately after the government was re-elected for the sixth consecutive term last year.
The party also instructed the ministers to identify the schemes, being executed by the panchayats, that require small investments and are easier to implement than other projects and complete them immediately to boost the party’s poll prospects.