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Tripura to form panel for hike in employees' salaries

Agartala, March 10 (IANS) In line with its promise, the BJP government in Tripura on Saturday decided to set up a high-level expert body to propose ways and means to raise the salaries and allowances of the state government employees at par with the proposals of the Seventh Pay Commission.

If the proposals are executed, over 2.45 lakh employees and pensioners would be benefited.

After the first meeting of the BJP council of ministers, headed by Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Tourism Minister Pranajit Singha Roy said names of the members of the expert committee would be announced soon.

Roy, also the Agriculture and Transport Minister, said the first session of the new Tripura assembly would be held on March 23. He was accompanied by the Chief Minister and Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath.

Veteran BJP legislator and former Minister Ratan Chakraborty would be the Pro-tem Speaker on March 14 and would administer the oath to the newly-elected members of the assembly on March 15 and 16.

Saturday's cabinet meeting also decided to examine the legal aspects in handing over the cases of murders of two journalists -- Santanu Bhowmik and Sudip Dutta Bhowmik -- to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The decision would fulfil the long pending demand of journalists' bodies.

A local newspaper journalist, Sudip Bhowmik, 50, was shot dead inside the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) second Battalion headquarters at Ramchandra Nagar in West Tripura district on November 21 last year.

Television journalist Santanu Bhowmik, 28, was hacked to death while covering a demonstration of a tribal-based political party at Mandai, 25 km from Agartala, on September 20 last year.

To probe the killings, the erstwhile Left Front government had set up two separate Special Investigation Teams (SIT) headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police Arindam Nath and Inspector General of Police G.S. Rao, respectively.

The SIT led by Nath has so far arrested several people, including four TSR personnel -- who include TSR 2nd Battalion Commandant Tapan Debbarma, who is a senior Tripura Police Service (TPS) officer and waiting for IPS nomination.

In other decisions, the Bharatiya Janata Party government, as per its poll promise, decided to rename Agartala Airport after late Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur (August 1908 - May 1947).

The Chief Minister exhorted the officials and staff to be punctual in order to improve work culture in all government departments.

"I don't say there was no work culture in the government department but the new government wants to improve work culture for the betterment of the state. Every official and staff must perform duties with full responsibility and devotion," he said.

On his government's priority sectors, Deb named good governance, improvement of law and order, building infrastructure and widening of employment opportunities.



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