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School service panel at a pinch for new office

Realising that the state government is not in a position to sanction money, the West Bengal School Service Commission has drawn up some cost-control measures to save up money and construct an office for itself.

The commission at present functions from a rented house in the Administrative Training Institute complex in Salt Lake. The state government has given the commission an 8.77-cottah plot in Salt Lake’s EE Block for its office building, but is not too sure about bearing the cost of construction.

“The government has given enough indication that finances may be a problem and so, we are drawing up measures to save money for the building. We have decided to cut down on the use of office cars and slash other expenses as well. We will check our power consumption by not using air-conditioners this summer,” said Arun Kiran Chakraborty, commission chairman.

Yet, the commission authorities will try and convince the government to sanction a sum of Rs 1 crore, at least, for the construction, Chakraborty added. The cost of the construction has been estimated at Rs 3 crore.

According to sources, the school service commission generates an average yearly revenue of Rs 6 crore. The sources of its income are the examinations held for recruiting teachers in government-aided schools across Bengal.

Of that amount, Rs 4.5 crore is spent on maintenance and paying the salaries of 50 employees of the commission. The rest has been kept aside for the construction of the new building, sources added.

The building committee of the commission is now busy sketching a blueprint. The commission has plans to erect a four-storey building and may rent out a floor to commercial and business establishments for more revenue, an official said.

It is learnt that the commission has failed to clear its electricity dues because of a cash crunch. “Since we are functioning from a state government complex, we have not yet been forced to pay our bill. Or else, we might have faced some serious problems,” said a senior official in the commission on Thursday.

The authorities have already submitted an application to the fire services department for a clearance certificate — a mandatory feature for any new construction — and is awaiting the green signal. The state government is, apparently, keen on a new building for the school service commission because all four regional offices of the commission function from rented houses, sources said.

Court nod for renewal

Justice D.P. Kundu of Calcutta High Court on Thursday passed an interim stay order on a Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) notification on the civic body’s decision not to renew deep tubewell licences of premises that had property tax pending for more than a year.

The CMC had taken the decision when it found that several alleged defaulters did not respond even after the civic waterlines to their premises had been disconnected.

Bengal Properties, a city-based firm, had then filed a petition before the high court, challenging the validity of the CMC notification. On Thursday, the judge asked the CMC to renew the licence of the petitioners as well.

Civic body lawyers P.K. Roy and A. Das Adhikari told the court that the civic body had to apply “certain tactics” on tax-payers as it had been facing a financial crisis. Several households have been avoiding paying their property tax for years.

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