Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) announced a stipend for Hindu priests across Kolkata on Tuesday. The Kolkata mayor, Firhad Hakim in his announcement at Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) said that as many as 49 Hindu priests working in seven burning ghats in Kolkata will be given a stipend of Rs.380 per case of death.

This Rs.380 per case will be for performing last rites for each of the deceased person.

“There are certain Hindu priests who only conduct last rites. They had no fixed stipend. They would depend on whatever the deceased’s family would offer. They face acute financial crunch. So we decided to stand by them. So on per case basis, we will provide Rs.380 to them,” said Hakim.

However, under the scheme for the Hindu priests will only be applicable for those residing in Kolkata and not cover those residing in other parts of Bengal.

On being asked whether KMC can roll out any new schemes during the election period while the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is in place, Hakim said, “The scheme was decided much earlier than the elections, but the announcement was made today.”

Interestingly, when the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government came to power in 2011, it announced a monthly stipend of Rs.2000 for each of the Muslim clerics across the state.

The announcement faced a major backlash as opposition alleged that the government and the party – Trinamool Congress was trying to appease the minority community through this scheme.

(By Pooja Mehta)