The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cost-cut axe on Centre office

About 250 employees of a Central government office at Nizam Palace will be rendered jobless as the Union government has decided to close down the office.

The office of the development commissioner for iron and steel has received a memorandum communicating the Centre’s decision to shut shop with immediate effect.

The ministry of steel, in a memorandum on May 23, has stated that “in consideration of the recommendations of the expenditure reforms commission set up by the ministry of finance, it has been decided that the office of the development commissioner for iron and steel would be closed down with immediate effect and the staff therein rendered surplus”.

It is learnt that the Union finance ministry had set up the expenditure reforms commission to identify Central government offices under various ministries which had lost relevance. The finance ministry will close down such offices to save on government expenses. Following the finance ministry’s decision, the expenditure reforms committee had recommended the closure of the Calcutta office.

The decision has both the state government and the trade unions up in arms.

Citu general secretary Chittabrata Majumder said the Union government was planning to privatise the entire steel industry and its intention was clear from the decision to close down the office of the development commissioner which used to play a major role in guiding the steel industry.

Majumder also held a meeting with Citu workers at the Nizam Palace office to protest the government’s decision.

The Joint Platform of Action (JPA), an organisation of Central government employees, has also condemned the closure of the office. Leader Saibal Chakraborty said the outfit will approach all the MPs from Bengal and urge them to raise the issue on the floor of the Parliament.

Moves are also afoot from the state government side to prevent the closure of the office. Commerce and industries secretary Sabyasachi Sen has already written to the ministry of steel in this regard.

“We feel it is important that the development commissioner for iron and steel, as a nodal office, should remain functioning in the state,” Sen said.

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