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De-stress, then debate

Calcutta, June 3: Soft instrumental music will soothe the taut nerves of lawmakers in the Assembly for 15 minutes every day before the cacophony of debates starts.

From Monday, two days after the extended budget session begins, sound boxes will play tunes of Rabindranath Tagore and instruments such as the sitar, the sarod and the shehnai from 10.40am till the alert bell rings at 10.55am, Speaker Biman Banerjee said after chairing an all-party meeting this afternoon.

The House begins its business at 11am every day.

“Soft music will help members of the House de-stress. The idea is to help them make a fresh start to the day,” Speaker Banerjee said.

Asked if the chief minister, who had conceived a similar de-stressing exercise for drivers and commuters at traffic signals, had also come up with the Assembly idea, the Speaker said: “She does not know about it. It’s entirely my idea.”

Rabindrasangeet is played at important traffic intersections in the city.

Budget session

The month-long extended budget session will be held to pass several bills and departmental budgets.

Speaker Banerjee said around a dozen important bills, including one to frame an act to run the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board, will be tabled during the session that will continue till July 10.

The West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board, earlier known as the West Bengal Board of Examination, was formed in 1962 under an executive order of the state higher education department. The board admits students to engineering, medical and technological degree colleges.

“The board will enjoy more autonomy if it is governed by an Act. Under the existing system, the board faces many difficulties because it is required to get the higher education department’s clearance to execute decisions,” a board official said.

Asked about other bills, the Speaker said the Assembly’s business advisory committee would decide on them in a meeting on June 9.

Government chief whip Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay today said he had requested the chief minister to be present at a meeting with Trinamul MLAs and ministers in the Assembly lobby on June 6.

“We want Mamata to address party MLAs and ministers on June 6 and send a message that they should regularly attend the House,” he said.