An activist here has come up with an innovative way to protest a three-fold hike in the salaries of Orissa’s MLAs — contribute an additional Rs. 2 each to their salaries.
Deb Prasad Prusti, president of Utkal Juba Parishad, has sent a cheque of R294 to the state finance secretary as advance assistance for March for the state’s 147 legislators.
“I will pay each of them from my pocket for the whole year. I also appeal others, especially the poorest of the poor, in the state to do the same so that our MLAs lead a very comfortable life,” said Prusti.
In view of inflation, the state cabinet on Friday affected a hike in the monthly salary of legislators — from R21,950 to R60,000 — with retrospective effect from April 1, 2010.
The cabinet also revised the salary of the CM from R20,000 to R59,000; leader of the opposition from R18,000 to R58,000; the speaker from R19,000 to R58,500; cabinet ministers from R18,000 to R58,000 and ministers of state from R16,000 to R57,000.
Coming amidst recent allegations of corruption, such as mining and dal scams, the hike has not gone down well with the people of Orissa, where many still survive on less than R20 a day.
“Oblivious of common people’s plight, they have become so self-centred and self-obsessed. The salary hike will not be able to satisfy their hunger... That is why I have decided to contribute to save the state exchequer from further loot,” Prusti said.
Prusti, a former consultative member of Food Corporation of India, also urged the state to grant the MLAs 25 kg rice at the rate of R2 a kg — the price fixed for people below poverty line.