The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha hauls up the big babus

Calcutta, Jan 17: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said higher officers wasted more government money than their juniors.

“I am working hard to stop misuse of government funds and need your help and co-operation,” Bhattacharjee told members of the West Bengal Subordinate Engineering Services Association at the Salt Lake stadium this afternoon.

Addressing the platinum jubilee function of the CPM-controlled association, Bhattacharjee said his government’s thrust will be on optimising revenue without hurting the poor. “We have decided to introduce water charge, but we will spare the 17 lakh slum dwellers in Calcutta.”

Citing the current financial crisis as the reason behind the government’s campaign for more revenue, Bhattacharjee said working out new avenues and cutting costs were the main routes out of the crunch.

He sought the opinion of the association on ways to reduce government expenditure. “You are working at the grassroots level and have much more experience than some of the superior officers. Moreover, you work for the government because you consider our government a part and parcel of your life. Our government depends on you and expects your advice in reducing unnecessary expenditure,” Bhattacharjee said amid deafening cheers from the audience.

Bhattacharjee expressed “wonder” at the fact that the government had spent Rs 1.5 lakh last year on purchasing flowers for government functions. “I have asked my officers to inquire into it. I was so surprised that I instructed government functionaries not to indulge in such lavish expenditure while organising programmes.”

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