Badal favours enhancing ex-gratia payment to families of MLAs

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Chandigarh, Mar 20 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said that issue related to an increase in the ex-gratia payment to the families of MLAs who die in 'service' could be refered to the General Purpose Committee of the Vidhan Sabha.

The Speaker is the head of this Committee and the matter can be discussed in this forum, he said during question hour in the state Assembly while replying to Charanjit Singh Channi (Ind) who raised the issue.

Regarding Mr Channi's suggestion that the ex gratia in such cases should be increased to Rs 10 lakh, besides an insurance cover of Rs 25 lakh should be provided to each member of the House, the Chief Minister said that it was a positive suggestion but could only be decided by the General Purpose Committee.

Earlier in a written reply to Mr Channi's question, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Taikshan Sud informed the House that there was already a provision in the Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Act, 1977 that an ex-gratia grant of Rs one lakh shall be paid to the family members of the Punjab Legislative Assembly, who die in service.

Where the member dies as a result of any terrorist act, the members of his family shall be paid an ex-gratia grant of Rs three lakh, he added.

Regarding the demand of the member to adjust one member of the families of MLAs in the government service, Mr Sud clarified that there was no such provision in the Act/Rules applicable to the members of the Assembly.

In reply to another question, Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said that his department was not using any forbiddgen cement pipe for the supply of potable water.

The Department is using ISI marked AC pressure pipes which are available at the rate contract approved by the Controller of Stores, he said in a reply to Ajit Singh Shant (Ind).

PVC pipes are also being used, expecially for laying distribution system of various water supply schemes, he said while assuring the member that only certified pipes which are not a health hazard would be used for water supply.

Tourism Minister Hira Singh Gabria told the Assembly that the government had commissioned the services of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for preparing a master plan on tourism.

Rural tourism will be one of the areas of study of UNWTO, he said in a written reply to Charanjit Singh Channi (Ind).


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