Mamata-appointed railway panels dissolved

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 11, 2012 15:50 hrs

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) The various committees whose members were appointed by the then railway minister Mamata Banerjee have been dissolved, Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said Tuesday.

"The committees' members had been appointed for political considerations and not on the basis of their capabilities or performance. The committees are important and they will remain. Only the members have been removed with immediate effect," Chowdhury told Bengali TV news channel ABP Ananda.

The committee members were mostly deemed to be close to Banerjee.

While painter and a close Mamata Banerjee aide, Shuvaprasanna headed the Railways Passenger Amenities Committee and had fellow painter Samir Aich, film director Haranath Chakrabarty and singer Pallab Kirtanya as members, the Passengers Services Committee had, among others, critically acclaimed director Goutam Ghose as a member.

The other committee dissolved is the Heritage and Cultural Committee, which had actress Saoli Mitra and theatre personality Arpita Ghosh as members.

The financial benefits attached with the posts include a monthly honorarium of Rs.10,000 to the panel head and Rs.8,000 to the members. Other perks include free travelling with food and lodging facilities when the members were on an official trip.

Chowdhury said the new members to be appointed soon and they will be experts from various fields with extensive knowledge as regards to the working of the railways.

The minister, who had earlier expressed his reservation over the members of the committee, said it was essential to have compatibility between the members and the railway ministry.

"The committees have extensive powers and are very important. Unless the committees permit, the ministry cannot perform a job. A railway minister cannot perform a job if the committees are against that particular job," the minister said.

"So it is essential that the members of these committees have compatibility with the railways ministry. The railways is not meant for providing political considerations and benefits to certain section of people," added Chowdhury.

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