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Trinamul to forgo SMC perks

Siliguri, Feb. 18: Deputy mayor Ranjan Silsharma and four Trinamul MMICs of Siliguri Municipal Corporation have decided not to use official cars and give up their monthly allowances to protest the “defamatory” remarks by Darjeeling district Congress president and the mayor against party leader Gautam Deb.

Nikhil Sahani, Trinamul chairman of borough committee V, will forgo his official car.

Today, 12 of the 15 Trinamul councillors submitted a letter to SMC secretary Kajal Kanti Saha.

“…The derogatory and defamatory comments made by Hon’ble mayor...in tune with Shankar Malakar…against Gautam Deb…has not only pained us but has left us shocked and alarmed as we feel that it is an insult not only to the Hon’ble minister, but to us also,” the letter addressed to P.D. Pradhan, the SMC commissioner read. “In protest...we wish to discontinue the use of the officials vehicles assigned for us and to forego the allowances bestowed on us as MMICs with immediate effect,”

A councillor gets cash allowance of Rs 3,000, phone allowance of Rs 500 and conveyance allowance of Rs. 1,000 a month. “An MMIC or the deputy mayor gets Rs 4,700 as cash allowance and phone allowance of Rs 1,000 a month and a car with a driver,” an official said. Sahani gets monthly cash allowance of Rs 3,000, phone allowance of Rs 500 and a car.

After Deb slammed the Congress for voting against SMC chairman Nantu Paul, Darjeeling district Congress president Shankar Malakar had said: “We don’t understand why the Trinamul councillors are not walking out of the board.”

Krishna Paul, MMIC (PWD) and the secretary general of Darjeeling Trinamul, said: “We protest the manner in which the Congress has joined hands with the CPM and voted against Paul.”

Jiban Majumdar, Congress district general secretary, said: “We have never spoken against Trinamul. They should hold talks with us.”