The government staff and Provincial Assembly members and their personal assistants in Sudurpaschim Province have received Dashain allowance.

Last year, a few of the beneficiaries returned the allowance in the face of a huge public uproar. However, the allowance which amounts to one month's additional salary was distributed again this year amidst public criticism and protest.

Province Accounts Controller Office Dhangadi Officer Yagyaraj Pandeya informed that his office had released Dashain allowance.

"We don't release the allowance on an individual basis, but release it collectively once we get a file for the same," Pandeya said.

The federal secretariat, however, hasn't provided such allowance to MPs this year. MPs, however, argued that it was perfectly legal for them to get the allowance.

"Payment of salaries, allowances, and the likes in the province has been distributed as per the related provincial act. So, the distribution of allowance in the province has been in line with the same act," said Province Assembly Secretariat Secretary Ramsingh Dhami.

The province has a total of 52 PA members. Of them, 11 members, including seven ministers are in the provincial Cabinet here.

As per the act, salaries of MPs, ministers and chief minister range from Rs 48,000 to Rs 60,970. Besides, they also receive other facilities.

Last year, there had been public condemnation against the distribution of Dashain allowance in view of the COVID-19 crisis that had caused huge financial burden to the nation. Till this day, the COVID-19 crisis still persists.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.