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‘From one day to five years’: After BJP MLA joins Trinamool, Tripura changes rules to avail benefits

Announcing the decision late evening on Tuesday, Information and Cultural Affairs minister Sushanta Chowdhury said the state took the decision so as to increase accountability of the MLAs.

Written by Debraj Deb | Agartala |
November 3, 2021 12:58:47 pm
Former BJP leader from Tripura Ashish Das with TMC General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee in Agartala. (ANI)

Two days after Tripura BJP MLA Ashish Das joined the Trinamool Congress, the state cabinet has mandated a minimum of five years in office for an MLA to avail pension and other allowances. Earlier, in the Left Front era, the legislators needed to complete a minimum of four years in office to avail the facilities. With the formation of the BJP-IPFT government, the time period was lessened to just a day.

Announcing the decision late evening on Tuesday, Information and Cultural Affairs minister Sushanta Chowdhury said the state took the decision so as to increase accountability of the MLAs.

“All the current and future members of the Legislative Assembly need to complete at least one term to avail the facilities provided to legislators. This will also be applicable to those who don’t become legislators in the subsequent term,” said Chowdhury while addressing the media at the Civil Secretariat.

While the minister didn’t name Ashish Das, he said incumbent MLAs elected in 2018 and future legislators would come under the ambit of the amended rules.

In the erstwhile Left Front regime, former MLAs were entitled to Rs 17,250 and reimbursement of medical expenses for former legislators and their spouses. After the BJP-IPFT government came to power in 2018, the pension amount was doubled to Rs 34,500 while all other benefits remained the same. However, the minimum period for availing these benefits, which were minimum four years out of the five-year term of an MLA till 2019, was changed to “any period”.
Cabinet’s Tuesday decision changed the minimum period back to a mandatory full term or five years.

On a different note, Chowdhury said the positivity rate of coronavirus was found to have risen in West and North districts recently. He said the positivity rate in the West district was 0.72% in three days while the figure was 0.40% in a week. In the North district, the rate was found to have hiked from 0.21% to 1.04% in the same period.

Accusing the Trinamool Congress for the rise in covid positivity rates, he said that the party conducted a public rally in West district on Sunday in which its general secretary Abhishek Banerjee participated. Many people from other states including Cachar in Assam came through Churaibari in the North district to attend the public rally.

“We have already made RTPCR tests compulsory for all those coming from other states through railways, road and airways. We also told them to conduct their rally in Swami Vivekananda maidan as it is spacious. The High Court also told them to allow only 500 people in the rally. Both the approaches were right. But they tried to politicise these things to malign us”, he said.

Abhishek Banerjee had held his first-ever public rally in front of Rabindra Shatabarshiki Bhawan here on October 31 with permission from the High Court of Tripura, after the state government cancelled disallowed it a day before the event and asked the party to change its venue to Vivekananda Maidan.

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