July 1, 2011

Bengal and her crorepati ministers

Kolkata, May 26 (IANS): The coffers of the state or may not be empty but the new council of ministers in West Bengal has as many as 10 crorepatis, according to the valuation of assets is on the basis of the affidavits given by them alongside their nomination papers for the recently concluded assembly polls.

Animal Resource Development minister Nure Alam Chowdhury, a former judge, of Trinamool Congress tops the crorepati ministers’ list with assets worth over Rs. Nine crore. His annual income clubbed with that of his wife is close to Rs. 30,00,000 while their bank and other investments sum up to Rs. 1,57,000,00. Their immoveable assets including inherited properties
are valued at Rs. 7,50,000,00.

Chowdhury is followed closely by finance minister Amit Kumar Mitra also from Trinamool with assets in excess of Rs. Seven crore. The former FICCI secretary general’s annual income inclusive of his wife is close to Rs. 49,00,000. Mitras’ immoveable assets are valued at Rs. 3,83,53,322 and their moveable assets are worth Rs. 3,25,22,994.

State Inland Water transport minister and former IPS officer Hyder Aziz Safwi - again from Trinamool - is the next in the list possessing assets of over Rs. five crore. Safwi and his wife have an annual income in excess of fifteen lakh rupees while their immoveable and moveable properties are valued in excess of five crore rupees.

Trinamool’s first time lawmaker Manish Gupta who heads the Planning and Development ministry has assets over Rs. three crore. Gupta’s annual income with that of his wife is in excess of Rs. 40 lakh while their assets are worth more than three crore rupees. Gupta, a former state chief secretary, humbled his erstwhile master and then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in the assembly polls. The former IAS also possesses master degree in Military Engineering and has been on board as director in several companies.

Urban Development minister and Trinamool legislator Firhad Hakim also finds a place among the multi-millionaire ministers possessing assets over Rs. three crore. Hakim along with his wife has an annual income in excess of Rs. 36 lakh. The property including moveable and immoveable is valued over Rs. three crore.

Consumer Affairs minister from Trinamool Sadhan Pande also has enough assets to mingle with his crorepati peers. He has properties in excess of Rs. two crore while his annual income clubbed with that of his wife is over Rs. six lakh.

Pande’s assets in the last five years have grown by 82 percent. He had also contested in the 2006 assembly polls and his assets then, as per his affidavits, was one crore and 28 lakh rupees.

Breaking the Trinamool hegemony in the crorepati minister’s list is Irrigation minister Manas Bhuniya of Congress. Bhuniya’s annual income along with his wife’s is Rs. nine lakh and his properties are valued over Rs. one crore. His assets too over the past five years have grown by 61 percent. The value of his assets since 2006 has increased by Rs. 75 lakh.

New Paschimanchal Unnayan Affairs minister Sukumar Hansda of Trinamool is also a crorepati with properties in excess of Rs. one crore. He is closely followed by agricultural marketing minister Arup Roy also with properties valued at over Rs. one crore.

The last entrant in the crorepati ministers club is Sports minister Madan Mitra who also has assets over Rs. one crore.

In all there are 47 multi millionaire legislators with assets ranging between Rs. 12 crore and one crore. The richest of them all is Trinamool’s Swapan Kanti Ghosh.

In contrast to her ministerial team, chief minister Mamata Banerjee as per her 2009 Lok Sabha polls nomination details has total assets of Rs.4.73 lakhs with neither a car, nor a house. Banerjee known for her Spartan life lives in a tile-roofed house in an obscure lane in south Kolkata’s Kalighat.

Ahead of the elections, the Trinamool and its allies had time and again alleged that the state had empty coffers and was burdened with huge loans under the erstwhile Left Front regime. It now remains to be seen how the crorepati ministers and their poorer cabinet colleagues put their heads together to shore up its finances.

--Indo-Asian News Service

No comments: