OTHER STATES

‘Special budget for Chhath’

New deal coming from next year, promises Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar



Reviews preparations for Chhath Puja, warns against any laxity

Asks officials to personally inspect all ghats, arrangements



Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said he would make special provisions in the financial calendar for the Chhath festival -- a festival to offer obeisance to Sun God, in Bihar, from next year.

Mr. Kumar, who reviewed the preparations for the festival on October 24 and October 25 in Bihar, said a separate calendar for preparations of the festival would be effective from 2010 and special budgetary allocations would be ensured to the State Urban Development department for the purpose.

The meeting was attended, among others by, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Health Minister Nand Kishore Yadav.

Mr. Kumar took stock of the progress of constructions of ghats on the banks of river Ganga in Patna, roads leading to the ghats, cleanliness, lighting arrangements and other related preparations for the festival.

A large number of worshippers was expected to come to the ghats for offering prayers on the occasion, he said.

Cautioning the officials against any ‘laxity’ on their (officials) part in connection with the preparations, he said the ghats must be spruced up and ready much before the festival. He asked the officials to inspect each ghat personally right from the eastern end of Patna to Digha.

Revised pension

Meanwhile, cash-strapped Bihar Government on Tuesday decided to give revised pension benefits to its over 3.53 lakh retired employees with effect from April 1, 2007, Deputy Chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi said.

Mr. Modi, who also holds the Finance portfolio told reporters here that the State would be incurring an extra burden of nearly Rs 900 crore in providing pension benefits to its retired employees on the occasion of approaching Diwali and ‘Chhath’ festivals.

Pension parity

While the State government had to spend Rs 3,479 on pension payment front during 2008-09, the Government would now be spending Rs 4,382 crore on pensions during the current fiscal.

The pension payment to the retired government employees would be at par with Central government employees and the payment would be made in accordance with the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission report.

Scheme

Mr. Modi said the Government had also come out with a revised pension scheme for the employees having attained 80 to 100 years of age or more.

The revised pension payment to this category of employees would commence from August 2009, he said and added that pension fund would not be less than Rs 3,500 per month. -- PTI