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Assembly passes five salary bills

- Remuneration of CM, ministers, Speaker and MLAs raised

Guwahati, Aug. 29: The Assam Assembly today passed five bills to increase salaries of ministers, ministers of state, deputy ministers, legislators, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and leader of the Opposition.

A section of legislators of the ruling Congress had opposed the bills when these were tabled in the Assembly on August 13 but there was no opposition today by any legislator, ruling or Opposition.

AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam only suggested that the salaries of the chief minister and the Speaker should be equal, keeping in mind the sanctity of the posts.

Responding to Islamís suggestion, parliamentary affairs minister Nilamani Sen Deka told the Assembly that the issue would be considered later in accordance with the rules and procedures of the Assembly.

The bill raises the basic salary of the Assam chief minister from Rs 65,000 to Rs 90,000, which is one of the highest salaries of chief ministers in the country, sources said. The total pay package of the chief minister will cross Rs 1 lakh. The cabinet ministers will receive Rs 80,000, an increase of Rs 20,000, ministers of state will get Rs 75,000 also an increase of Rs 20,000, while legislators, who now get Rs 40,000, will draw Rs 60,000.

The other bills passed today increase the Speakerís monthly basic salary to Rs 80,000 (from Rs 60,000), that of the Deputy Speaker to Rs 75,000 (from Rs 55,000) and that of the leader of Opposition to Rs 80,000 (from Rs 60,000).

The day these bills were tabled in the House, legislator Himanta Biswa Sarma, a former minister, had requested Speaker Pranab Gogoi to defer the bills in view of the skirmishes on the Assam-Nagaland border. Sarma was backed by six to seven MLAs.

AIUDF legislature party leader Hafiz Basir Ahmed Qasimi told this correspondent salary revision for legislators was long overdue in view of the constant price rise.

Responding to BJP legislator Prasanta Phukanís query on when would the MLAs start receiving the revised salaries, Deka said necessary procedures to enforce the bills would be taken at the earliest.