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Secretarial staff nod for former CM

Patna, June 3: The cabinet today approved the cabinet secretariat departmentís proposal to sanction secretarial staff for a former chief minister.

According to the proposal, a former chief minister would be entitled to keep employees for five years from the date of relinquishing the post of the chief minister, cabinet secretariat department principal secretary Brajesh Mehrotra said.

The decision would entitle the former chief minister to keep two private secretaries, private assistant and lower division clerk, besides four orderly peons to assist him in carrying out his work.

The decision it seems is a tailor-made decision for Nitish Kumar. Nitish had resigned from the post of the chief minister on May 17 and handed over the reins of the state to his trusted nominee, the incumbent chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, on May 20.

All former chief ministers ó Satish Prasad Singh, Jagannath Mishra, Ram Sundar Das, Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi ó have completed five years from relinquishing the post (of chief minister).

The cabinet gave its nod to the urban development and housing departmentís proposal to empower Bihar State Housing Board to purchase plots for creating a land bank to construct residential housing projects in various districts, the principal secretary said.

Mehrotra, however, said it was a policy decision and details would be chalked out now as to where and in what numbers residential colonies have to be constructed for lower and middle income groups.

Making it clear that the board would not go for acquisition, he said the land would be purchased at market rates and a land bank would be created in different districts.

The cabinet also gave a green light to the finance departmentís proposal for amendment in Rule 220 of Bihar Service Code to enable women government employees/officers of the state government to avail maternity leave of 135 days anytime, after or before delivery, he said, adding that the leave can be availed of by only those women having two children.

The cabinet also sanctioned Rs 19.16 crore for setting up a National Dolphin Research Centre, Patna, under the Dolphin Research Centre Plan, Mehrotra said.

The entire amount would be withdrawn in one go and would be made available to Bihar Infrastructure Development Authority for construction of building and creating infrastructure facility for the dolphin centre.

The cabinet also put its seal of approval on giving voluntary retirement to additional sessions and district judge III of Supaul, Arun Kumar Singh. It also approved the hike in payment of consolidated pay of Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 to prison guards. The cabinet also approved Rs 220 crore for providing sanitary napkins to adolescent schoolgirls in government middle and high schools across the state.