West Bengal govt employees protest to demand hike in DA | Kolkata - Hindustan Times
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West Bengal govt employees protest to demand hike in DA

Mar 10, 2023 09:34 PM IST

The West Bengal government said 90% of government employees were present at work on Friday despite a strike call by staff associations over the DA hike demand

KOLKATA: Many West Bengal government employees on Friday joined a strike called by ‘Sangrami Joutho Manch’, a joint forum of 35 unions, to demand a hike in dearness allowance (DA).

West Bengal Government employees at Writers Building during their strike demanding clearance of their pending DA in Kolkata. (PTI)
West Bengal Government employees at Writers Building during their strike demanding clearance of their pending DA in Kolkata. (PTI)

The state’s finance department had warned employees who are absent from work on Friday of severe action including a break in service and salary cuts but several government offices and schools nevertheless wore a deserted look on Friday.

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Several organisations have been carrying out agitations since January for a DA hike on par with central government employees. Last week, employees also participated in a 48-hour ‘pens down’ protest.

On Friday, the government insisted that more than 90% of government employees were present at work.

“There was no impact of the strike on the normal functioning of offices. Attendance was above 90%. Most of the absentees were covered under different relaxations. Action will be initiated against employees who have wilfully remained absent,” a statement issued by the state government said.

Demonstrators squatted in front of the gates of state government offices such as the Writers Building, Bikash Bhavan, Khadya Bhavan, Swastha Bhavan, and Kolkata Municipal Corporation.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee recently rejected the demand for any further hike in DA, saying the state did not have the money. “We don’t have the money. We have given an additional 3% DA. You may chop my head off if you are not happy with it,” she said.

Trinamool Congress general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said the protesters should ask the Centre to clear the state’s outstanding dues. “They have the right to call a strike. Even though I don’t believe in this,” Banerjee said.

Sukanta Majumdar, BJP’s state president, said his party supported the employees. “The state government has threatened of a break-in-service. We have assured that if BJP comes to power this clause would be abolished,” he said.

At the BJP’s protest in Bidhannagar some BJP workers and leaders, including BJP legislator Agnimitra Paul were injured when the police had to use force to disperse the agitators.

“JOBS get stolen in WB, POLICE remains quiet COW SMUGGLING is on. COAL SMUGGLING on… But when @BJP4Bengal protests against children dying out of ADENO VIRUS then this police heckles us and ARRESTS us. This is @MamataOfficial‘s police SHAME!!” Paul tweeted.

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