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Bengal cabinet offers stipend, housing to priests, Rs 50k to Pujo panels

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 24, 2020 20:14 IST
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The West Bengal Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod to the 'Rajya Purohit Kalyan Prokolpo', a scheme under which a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 and free housing would be allotted to each of around 8,000 Sanatan Brahmin priests.


IMAGE: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wears a face mask during a meeting with Durga Puja Committee, ahead of the upcoming Durga Puja festival, in Kolkata, on Thursday. Photograph: Ashok Bhaumik/PTI Photo

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had last week announced the scheme, and said many priests were reeling under financial crisis and her government was doling out sops to support them.

"The Cabinet has given its nod to the 'Rajya Purohit Kalyan Prokolpo' which the chief minister had announced a few days ago," state home secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said at the secretariat.

During Thursday's meeting, the Cabinet also approved a plan to form a development authority for converting Birsingha -- the birthplace of polymath Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar -- into an 'educational tourist hub'.

"The authority will follow the West Bengal Town and Country Planning and Development Act for executing the project. The district magistrate will be the chairman (ex officio) and MPs and MLAs and other public representatives members of the planning body," Bandyopadhyay said.

The ministers also held discussions and weighed the pros and cons of launching a Rs 22-crore solar project at Sagardighi Thermal Power Plant, he said.

"The five-megawatt floating solar project, the largest in the country, will benefit around one lakh households, once operational," the home secretary stated.

Several other development plans, including a riverbank township project, were taken up for discussion at the meeting.

The ministers, following the meeting, congratulated Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha, who is set to retire on September 30, for his service to the state.

Sinha had taken over as the chief secretary on the same day last year, following the retirement of Malay Dey. 

Mamata announces grant of Rs 50,000 to each Durga Puja committee

Meanwhile, Banerjee on Thursday announced a grant of Rs 50,000 to each Durga Puja committee in the state.

Announcing a slew of doles for around 37,000 Durga Puja committees in the state, Banerjee said that the fire brigade, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), other civic bodies, municipalities and panchayats will not charge any money or tax for their services from the puja organisers.

"Due to the COVID pandemic, it has been a tough time for all of us. We have decided to provide Rs 50,000 grant to each Durga Puja committee of the state. We have also decided that CESC and the state electricity board will give 50 per cent waiver for the puja committees," she said addressing the Durga Puja Coordination meeting in Kolkata.

Banerjee asked the committees to prepare open-air marquees in view of the contagion and ensure that pandal hoppers wear masks.

The chief minister also announced a one time grant of Rs 2,000 for 75,000 hawkers of the state as they had faced a difficult time due to the lockdown.

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