With a large section of the State government employees sticking to their demand for enhanced dearness allowance on par with that of the Central government, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that the government will not be able to provide it even if the protestors “behead” her.
Speaking at the extended Budget Session in the Assembly, Banerjee cited the difference in the salary structures of the Central and West Bengal governments and claimed that the TMC government in the State is already giving its employees DA of 105%.
“How much do you (agitating government staffers) want? How much will satisfy you? Please chop off my head and then hopefully you will be satisfied … If you do not like me, chop off my head. But you will not get any more from me,” she said.
Various organisations of State government employees, including the Sangrami Joutha Mancha (united platform for struggle) are agitating for raising the DA on par with the central government employees.
DA, she said, is not given by the governments of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Tripura and pension to retired state government employees is given only in West Bengal.
The Mamata Banerjee government raised DA for its employees by three per cent in this year’s budget. It also issued a notification for DA grant to employees, pensioners and family pensioners at the rate of six per cent of their basic pay with effect from March 1, 2023, following the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission.
Alleging financial deprivation by the Centre, she said, “The State government is giving as much as possible. Paying DA is not mandatory. The scales of pay of Central and State government employees are different. State government employees get more leaves. It will not work to get more leaves and demand more DA”.
Continuing to speak in defense of her government’s stand on the issue, Ms. Bannerjee said “Does the State have a Reserve Bank? We are yet to get ₹1 lakh crore from the Centre. Money will not fall from the sky. I have given government employees the opportunity to go to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand,” she added.
No objection certificates are mandatory for government servants who apply for leave to go abroad on a private vist. Prior permission of the competent authority for such visit is also required. The West Bengal government in 2015 allowed benefits under LTC scheme to the State government employees once in ten years to visit neighbouting countries .
Apparently hitting out at the Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari for visiting the agitating employees at Sahid Minar area, Banerjee asked whether she should stop pension as it will save money and help her government raise the DA .
Last week, agitating government employees held a 48-hour ‘pens down’ in this connection ignoring warnings of action against them.