Thursday, June 9, 2011

700 cases of pension delay of W.B. school teachers pending in High Court.

Over 700 cases of non-payment of pension to schoolteachers are pending with Calcutta High Court, some for as long as 18 years.
On June 2, Mamata Banerjee had announced that the government would pay “provisional pension” to teachers within 30 days of retirement till the final settlement of dues was completed. The decision includes all schoolteachers who are yet to get pension.
The high court had directed school education authorities on several occasions to disburse pension arrears but the Left Front government failed to act on most orders because of “the lackadaisical approach of the school managements or the district inspectors of schools”.
Government sources said nearly 30,000 teachers who had retired after 2006 were yet to receive pension and other post-retirement benefits. The reason, the sources said, was the failure of the Left government to fix the teachers’ pension amounts in line with their enhanced salaries under the Fifth Pay Commission.
Several thousands of these retired teachers now get only a portion of the amount they are supposed to get.
“I have been fighting a legal battle for over four years to get my pension and statutory dues. The teachers will not have to face legal hassles if their pension and statutory dues such as provident fund and gratuity are paid on time,” said Manoranjan Das, a teacher who retired in 2007.
Ekramul Bari, a lawyer handling the cases of some retired teachers, said: “I am holding the brief for more than 100 schoolteachers who are yet to receive pension even though they retired 10 years ago.”
He said the new government’s decision to pay provisional pension within 30 days of retirement would ease the pressure on the exchequer. “Over the past few years, the high court has forced the government to pay the pension along with a 12 per cent to 18 per cent interest on arrears. This had cost the government crores.”
Sukamal Chowdhury, who retired as headmaster of South Dinajpur Golabari High School in January 2010, said he moved the high court in May last year after he did not get his pension. “In June 2010, the court ordered the government to pay my pension and other dues within 30 days. But I am yet to receive a farthing.”
Advocate Subroto Mookherjee recounted that in the early nineties, he had fought the case of a teacher of a south Calcutta school who was forced to beg on the streets because of delays in getting pension. “The court had passed an order asking the secondary education department to pay Priyabrata Sengupta’s dues within a month along with interest,” Mookherjee said.
Asked why the previous government failed to pay pension on time, former government standing counsel Subrata Mukhopadhyay said: “Most of the school managements concerned were primarily responsible for the delay in disbursement of pension. They failed to update the service books of the teachers on time.”
Source : The Telegraph.

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