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Mamata cuts luxury travel for ministers, announces ‘one person, one car’ policy

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also said that foreign travel of ministers and state officials would be sanctioned only by her, apart from ordering cuts on hospitality expenses such as food.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2018 21:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced the new measures in a bid cut costs, adding that the state spends Rs 47,000 crore every year towards repayment of loans.(PTI File Photo)

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday set a “one person one car” policy for ministers and bureaucrats and mandated economy class for all domestic air travel in a bid to cut costs incurred by the state government.

Foreign travel, Banerjee said at an administrative meeting, would be sanctioned only by her. She also ordered cuts on hospitality, food and refreshments on an emergency basis.

A senior bureaucrat who was present at the meeting said on condition of anonymity that Banerjee cautioned ministers and bureaucrats handling more than one department against using multiple government vehicles from these departments.

Banerjee said the government should follow a strict “one person, one vehicle” policy.

“The chief minister said it had been brought to her notice that some ministers and bureaucrats handling more than one department are getting multiple vehicles,” the bureaucrat said.

“She clearly said this must stop immediately and only one vehicle will be allocated for each of them,” the bureaucrat said.

Banerjee also announced at the meeting that no proposal on foreign tour of bureaucrats and ministers will be entertained unless she gives clearance.

“In case of domestic travels, ministers and bureaucrats must avail low-cost airline and travel economy class,” said a state government official on condition of anonymity.

The chief minister later told media that the meeting was fruitful and those who attended agreed to take appropriate steps to cut costs.

“We are spending Rs 47,000 crore every year only towards repayment of old loans. The Centre has curtailed funds under many schemes. So, we must control expenditure and use the savings for public welfare,” she said.

Banerjee also formed a committee — to be headed by chief secretary Malay Kumar De — to supervise progress of government projects. The committee will have to ensure that projects are completed within deadline so that additional expenditure is not incurred.

Another committee was created on Thursday to examine proposed projects and evaluate their necessity and viability. The committee will also determine project costs.

First Published: Jul 05, 2018 21:18 IST