Employees of the West Bengal government have been seeking revision of dearness allowance as per the 7th Pay Commission. They held protests outside the West Bengal Assembly demanding DA hike at par with their counterparts working for the Central government.
During the protest, some disgruntled employees even tried to force their way into the Assembly, and a clash with the police ensued. Later, scores of demonstrators were taken into custody by the police.
These protests have been going on for some time now to bring attention to the fact that the staff have yet to receive their salaries as per the revised DA.
The Central government has given its approval for 34 per cent DA as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission post implementation in 2016. However, the West Bengal government allows way less DA to its employees.
On top of that, the State government has not been paying the DA to its school teachers and employees for a while now. It is reported that the pending payment amounts to about Rs 20,000 crore.
Earlier this year, the Calcutta High Court had ordered the West Bengal government to pay the arrears within three months following a petition filed by the workers’ union against the State government. However, even post the three-month deadline, no action was taken to clear the dues. This prompted the unions to approach the High Court to file a contempt of court petition before the division bench of Justice Harish Tandon and Justice Rabindranath Samanta.
In September, the division bench directed the chief secretary and finance secretary of West Bengal to file affidavits by 4 November as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them.
The state government has now moved the Supreme Court in the hope of obtaining some relief in the case, given the weak economic condition of West Bengal.