The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Speaker joins cost-cut drive

Calcutta, Oct. 28: Taking a cue from the government, Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim today met the chiefs of the Assembly committees and heads of political parties to discuss steps to reduce expenditure among members of the Assembly.

The House has nearly 30 panels, including 16 standing committees, to oversee the functioning of its various departments.

“This is part of our exercise to review the work done by these panels,” Halim said tonight. “I want the chiefs of the committees to ensure speedy action on the basis of the reports they submit to the state government,” he added.

Halim asked the leaders to minimise the number of meetings to cut down expenditure. However, those present argued that the number of meetings could not be brought down as the issues they handled “required time”.

“The Speaker asked us to hold two meetings instead of four every month. But this is simply impossible,” said Atish Sinha, leader of the Congress Legislature Party.

Sinha said the committee heads should be given a free hand to hold as many meetings as they wanted to complete the assessment of the departments they were in charge of.

Leader of Opposition and Trinamul MLA Pankaj Banerjee said the MLAs were not informed about any austerity measure by the government. “There is no extravaganza on the part of the MLAs. So why should there be restrictions'” he asked.

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