18% DA hike for Bengal govt. employees

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first_imgWest Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday announced an 18% hike in dearness allowance for State government employees. The development comes in the wake of severe discontentment among government employees over DA and a case pending before the Calcutta High Court in this regard.“We are today announcing an additional 18% DA to the State government employees, including teachers and non-teaching staff of educational institutions. It will come into effect from January 1, 2019,” Ms. Banerjee said. Apart from this, she also announced a 10% interim relief to be implemented from January next.Ms. Banerjee said her government has been providing DA every year despite financial constraints due to the loan incurred by the erstwhile Left Front government. “We will have to release ₹5,000 crore for this,” she said.State Finance Minister Amit Mitra said with the latest hike in DA, the State government has spent about ₹27,000 crore in the last seven years.last_img

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After Runway Rehab, a Modern RIA Airport in Sight

first_imgThe Liberian Senate could soon ratify a US$27.3 million loan agreement between the government and the European Development Bank for the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport runway.This rehabilitation will vastly improve RIA’s runway and allow airplanes much safer landing.  RIA Managing Director A.T. Simmons yesterday told the Daily   Observer the rehabilitation   will include a new fixed coating, totally free of potholes and “hydro plaining,”      water settling on the runway that may cause the planes to skid (slide), leading to aircraft damage.Mr. Simmons said the last time the RIA runway underwent a major rehabilitation was in 1974, four decades ago.  The impending exercise will make RIA far more attractive and international airlines would happily bring in their Jumbo Jets, Boeing 767s, Airbuses and other ultra modern aircrafts.This is all great news, but what next?  This, we are positive, is a question on every Liberian’s mind, especially those of our citizenry who travel frequently, admire and enjoy the modern airport complexes that they see in North and South America, Europe, Asia and even here in Africa.Yes, right here on the African continent, on which lies its   oldest independent Republic, we have two of the world’s most modern airports, Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.  Well, it may be argued that South Africa can afford them, since it is richly endowed with gold, diamond, coal and other mineral resources, and a modern, rich agro-industry, which exports to the world thousands of tons of foods of all kinds, including meat, canned goods and wines. But guess what!  Liberia, too, is a rich country!  We, too, have our gold and diamond, and more besides, our iron ore and rubber!  Harvey Firestone, Jr., when he came here in 1926 to start his rubber plantation,   said there was no better place   on earth more ideally suited for rubber.If we can grow rubber we can   grow ANYTHING else.  And yet, we can hardly find a decent rose or carnation to present   our wives, sisters and   daughters on their birthdays.  Why? For the same reason Lusu Sloan, president of the Liberia Marketing Association told the Dual Currency Roundtable on Monday: that the Zwedru market women told her that the price of their pepper was high because they bought it “for US dollars in the Ivory Coast.” Pepper that Liberians cannot cook without is not abundantly grown here to meet the demand in spite of our rich soil and abundant rainfall? The noted agriculturist and soil chemist, James T. Phillips, grew pepper successfully in Careysburg in the 1960s and 70s.  Has anyone been to Israel and seen what they have done with their desert land?  They grow anything on it and Israel is largely food self-sufficient: but remember, it is, like the rest of the Middle East, mostly desert and sand.But what has all this to do with airports, the subject of this editorial.  Everything!  Does anyone know how many Jumbo Jets fly Kenyan flowers daily to Europe and North America?  Why can’t we do the same?This newspaper has long urged our people to turn Grand Cess, Grand Kru County and Foya, Lofa County, into meat-producing oases because cattle grow naturally in those areas and in many other parts of Liberia.  Yet we continue to import malnourished cattle from rain-starved Mali and Burkina Faso.  For how long are we going to remain STUPID and not harness (exploit) our immense agricultural potential?But this Editorial is talking about airports.  Singapore has one of the world’s most modern airports—yet no natural resources except a waterway through which super tankers pass taking goods to world markets.  That is Singapore’s only natural resource!  Yet Singapore is 100% literate and computer literate, and has over US$20,000 per capita income.All we are saying is that we in this country, Liberia, need to get serious and take advantage of the innumerable blessings God has given us, especially in fertile land and rainfall, but much, much more.RIA Managing Director Simmons yesterday divulged (revealed) the good news   about RIA: many international companies have bid for contracts to invest in a world class “airport city” at RIA.    Within the next 30 to 60 days, he told the Observer yesterday, the Airport  Authority will begin receiving proposals for this project.We pray that these proposals will be made public, so that the Liberian people may participate in these all important discussions that will yield, at long last, to a modern international airport that  Africa’s oldest independent Republic deserves.  Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img

B.C.’s economic forecast and the northern region

first_img“We are still fairly confident that we’re going to see a couple of LNG projects in the province.”As for the drop in the price of gas for consumers at the pump, Peacock concedes “it might not be as clear-cut” in Fort St. John – warning of “curtailment in exploration and drilling activity,” but says “consumers will obviously benefit.”“It’s probably a bit more nuanced in your area.” “B.C.’s economy is much more diversified; Alberta is really all about the oil, so when oil goes south the economy is hurt really badly,” Peacock explains of B.C.’s economic advantage. “In contrast, we don’t have very much oil in B.C. We have lumber that’s going to do well, we’ve got a fairly robust services export segment, we’ve got some film and television; tourism is going to do well this year – we believe because of the recovery in the US economy and also because the Canadian dollar is less expensive… We do export to Asia much more than the rest of the county, so it’s just this much more diversified economy means we will be more resilient and not face some of the challenges that Alberta, and Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland face.”Peacock adds, “Forestry is an area that we expect to do quite well. It might not boast Fort St. John particularly but northern British Columbia in general.”The boast of B.C.’s forestry industry is a result of a recovery within the U.S. housing market increasing the price of lumber, according to Peacock.- Advertisement -When forecasting B.C.’s economic future, the council also considers the prospect of LNG development.“Our sense is sort of the chaos in [the] global energy market does make it more challenging,” Peacock goes on to say. “I think some of these global energy companies are going to face cash flow issues, and so we think it might postpone some final investment decisions or make companies take a harder look at their final decision.”Peacock says given the magnitude of some LNG project, many of which range $10 – $20 billion in construction and operating costs, international energy providers are looking to secure contracts with Asian markets decades into the future and are not entirely focused on this year’s downturn in commodity prices.Advertisementlast_img

Dawson Creek airport to receive expansion funding

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. – MLA Mike Bernier announced today that Dawson Creek Airport will be receive a grant of $128,250 to fund upgrades under the B.C. Air Access program.The funding will be used to upgrade the ground lighting outside of the air terminal building, remove and replace sidewalks, install metal/glass walkway cover and replace front windows in the terminal building.Bernier says the work is important for the airport to help connect people and remain accessible.“Improving vital transportation links like the Dawson Creek Airport is important for ensuring that communities like ours remain accessible and connected. This funding will benefit businesses, visitors and all residents”.- Advertisement -Airport manager Ian Darling says the government realizes how important it is to have structures that support a strong transportation system.“The Government of British Columbia recognizes the importance of having a strong provincial transportation system. This was evident with the introduction last year of the British Columbia Air Access Program which identified the need to assist communities with their airport infrastructure. The British Columbia Air Access Program is ground breaking and has shown its importance in keeping B.C. connected. We are looking forward to many years of continued success.”Advertisement Through the program, the government shares the costs of development and expansions with public airports. The government is investing $24 million over three years for the B.C. Air Access Program.last_img

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