| Opposition members stage a protest in the Assembly on Tuesday. (PTI) |
Agartala, Feb. 18: The nine-day budget session of Tripura Assembly began here amid ruckus with the Opposition vociferously protesting governor Debanand Konway’s opening speech as “an exercise in falsehood” and cornering the government on the issue of pay and allowances of the state’s employees.
As is the custom, the year’s opening session began with statutory speech of the governor which is actually a statement of the state government but as soon as Konwar started reading it out, all 10 MLAs of Opposition Congress started shouting slogans against the contents of the speech and laid siege to the Speaker’s podium.
The Opposition’s contention was that the governor’s speech, actually prepared and approved by the cabinet, is a “bunch of colossal falsehood” as the state is reeling under spiralling crimes against women, price rise, corruption and deprivation of all sections of people, specially employees and pensioners.
However, all through the sloganeering, Konwar remained unfazed and finished reading out his speech before leaving the House.
The Opposition then staged a noisy 18-minute walkout.
When the House reassembled at zero hour, the Opposition again went on the offensive on the issue of pay, allowances of employees and pension for retired employees.
Replying to a query put up by former Opposition leader Ratanlal Nath on whether the state government had any plan to implement central payscales for state’s employees and pensioners, finance minister Badal Chowdhury said his government had no such plan and decision on this would depend on the size of the award of the 14th Finance Commission.
Nath, supported by leader of the Opposition Sudip Roy Barman and other MLAs, charged the state government with deliberately depriving the employees.
“On December 11, 2008, the Prime Minister’s office had addressed a letter to the state’s chief secretary seeking information on how much funds would be required to implement the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission as it had done to all other special-category states. Since there was no reply from the state government a reminder was sent on January 13, 2009, but still the state government did not furnish any reply which clearly means that the state government wanted to deprive the employees of central payscale deliberately,” Nath said.
He added that all other states and Union territories had given central payscales and allowances to their employees but Tripura is yet to do anything.