Amid TN transport staff strike on low pay, CM tables MLA wage hike bill

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eddapai-palaniswamy-on-TN-tChennai: A bill to double the salaries of Tamil Nadu MLAs was tabled by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy in the Assembly on Wednesday.

Soon after the bill was tabled opposition DMK and sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran opposed the bill.

“People will laugh at us for this hike when transport workers in the state are on strike demanding salary hike,” DMK’s MK Stalin said.

The bill takes the new pay packet of Tamil Nadu MLAs to Rs 1.05 lakh per month, a 90.91 per cent hike over their earlier salary of Rs 55,000. It also hikes the ‘MLA Constituency Development Scheme’ fund allocation to Rs 2.50 crore from Rs 2 crore. Similarly, pension for former MLAs and members of the now defunct Legislative Council will be increased to Rs 20,000 from the present Rs 12,000.

If the bill is passed it will come into effect from Thursday even as the state reels under a crippling strike for a week by transport workers for better wages.

In July 2017, CM Palanisamy had made the announcement, inviting criticism at a time when the state’s farmers were protesting in Delhi for loan waivers and better minimum support price. The government is likely to invite fresh criticism over the bill, this time from transport unions that have been on strike for better wages.

The Tamil Nadu government is willing to increase the wage of transport workers by 2.44 times, but the workers who are on an indefinite strike want a 2.57 time hike.