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School sits on salary petition
- Leave-with-pay plea of teacher with brain tumour gathers dust

The travails of this teacher just refuse to end. Jaideb Gharai, now 58, was first wrongly diagnosed with a psychiatric problem and underwent treatment for more than a year. When a tumour was finally detected, he underwent an operation and is now on his way to recovery.

But in the school where he has taught Bengali for two decades, things have gone from bad (his salary was stopped and he was labelled ‘mad’ by his colleagues), to worse (complete non-cooperation on the part of the authorities) following the publication of his tale of woe in Metro on 4 February.

The authorities of Kamrabad High School, in Sonarpur, were supposed to forward some important documents concerning Gharai’s application for 18-month special leave with pay to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. But they seem to be in no mood to do so now, allege the Gharais.

“The teacher-in-charge of the school told my father that he shouldn’t have gone to the press, and slammed the phone down. My father was extremely upset,” said son Arnab.

A section of teachers, however, has pushed for a consensus to grant Gharai’s special leave and promised to stand by the family. “We remain grateful to them,” added Arnab.

Earlier, the school had assured Gharai that all documents would be sent to the Board at the earliest. When contacted, Board president Dibendyu Hota said that he was “aware of Gharai’s case” and would personally look into the matter. “The Board never takes a long time to clear these (special cases on health grounds). But we must wait for all relevant papers to arrive,” he added.

The recent turn of events has taken its toll on Gharai’s health, and doctors attending to him confirmed that his condition had deteriorated. “Whatever is happening in school has left a scar on his life and he is under a lot of emotional stress right now,” says neurosurgeon Milind Deogaonkar, who had first detected Gharai’s brain tumour and treated him at National Neurociences Centre.

This was after Gharai was diagnosed with a psychiatric problem at a Loudon Street medical centre and underwent “wrong treatment” for over a year. During that time, his attendance became irregular and he was made the target of taunts by a section of colleagues. Then, his salary was stopped and he was even asked to pay back some with a loan from his provident fund account.

Arun Chakraborty, teacher-in-charge of the school, had said last Monday that he would “send the documents to the Board in a few days time”. On Saturday, he was unavailable for comment.

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