A casual employee of the state-run transport sector committed suicide on Tuesday because he did not get his pay for four months as his appointment, done by the previous government, was found to be "irregular".
This incident has revealed the strained finances of the West Bengal government despite a change of guard eight months ago.
The deceased, Vikram Singh, has left his pregnant wife and father, who was a mason.
The suicide has compelled the government to rethink its decision of stopping subsidy for this sector.
Singh, 29, a resident of Hooghly district, about 30 km to the north of Kolkata, was the only working member of his family. He was employed at CTC's (earlier Calcutta Tramways Company) depot in Howrah as a non-technical staff member and used to earn R6,000 per month.
Unable to bear his state of penury, Singh hanged himself at his residence. "An unnatural death case has been initiated in this regard," said Rajnarayan Mukherjee, subdivisional police officer, Serampore.
Singh's colleague Subir Bose said: "The local grocer too was not ready to extend any more credit to him. Vikram begged the company doctor to grant him 10 days' leave so that he could earn some money (by doing side jobs). On Tuesday, he had visited the doctor at our head office, desperately seeking leave."
Montu Singh, Vikram's grieving father, said on the phone: "I got a phone call on Tuesday evening and rushed him to the hospital, where the doctors told me my son was no more."
Over the past four months, 257 other CTC employees are also not being paid.
CTC is one of the five transport undertakings that are facing the burden of the financial stress of the government. They have 18,000 employees and about 6,000 pensioners, who are not getting salary on time.
The transport sector gets an annual subsidy of Rs 600 crore, of which about Rs 420 crore is consumed by salary and pension.