The Telegraph
Friday , September 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gurung GTA pay: Rs 50000

Darjeeling, Sept. 27: The GTA Sabha has proposed to pay a monthly honorarium of Rs 50,000 to its chief executive, rs 25,000 to elected members and Rs 5,000 to nominated members.

The payment is subject to the approval of the state government. The GTA Sabha has 45 elected members and five nominated members, three of whom are from the Trinamul Congress.

Sources have said the honorarium for the chief executive is equivalent to the monthly salary enjoyed by a Grade-A official in the state government.

“The deputy chief’s honorarium has been capped at Rs 45,000, while the chairman and deputy chairman of the Sabha will get Rs 40,000 and Rs 35,000 respectively,” said a source.

The 14 executive members will get an honorarium of Rs 30,000 each per month.

“The rest of the elected members will get Rs 25,000 a month,” said the source.

However, each of the five nominees will get only Rs 5,000, that is one-fifth of the amount fixed for the elected members.

Saumitra Mohan, the principal secretary to the GTA, said: “It is true that the GTA Sabha has fixed different honorarium scales and this will be sent to the state government for its approval.”

Apart from the honorarium, the GTA members will be entitled to Rs 500 for attending a Sabha meeting, apart from travel allowances that will be reimbursed on the production of bills. There is no ceiling on the travel allowance.

Unlike the MLAs and the MPs, GTA Sabha members are not entitled to any allowance. An MLA in Bengal gets Rs 5,000 as allowance, Rs 4,000 as constituency allowance and Rs 3,000 as telephone allowance.

For ministers, there is a daily allowance of Rs 1,000 for every day spent in office or outside doing official work. So, they can earn an additional allowance of up to Rs 31,000 a month (in a 31-day month), besides the salary.

The salary of a minister of state is Rs 7,200, Rs 7,500 for a cabinet minister and Rs 8,300 for the chief minister. The ministers also get full reimbursement of electricity bills both in Calcutta and their houses in the districts and cooking gas connections.

Sources said since the government had to give its nod to the honorariums for the GTA members, the state could increase the amount for the nominees, probably making it equivalent to the elected members’ pay.

A senior government official said the honorariums for the GTA members was high, but it was not illegitimate.

“Functioning like the Assembly, on a much smaller scale, the GTA Sabha can take such decisions within their budgetary allocation,” he said.