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200-cr annual drainout for teacher house rent

While cash-strapped Bengal is increasingly cutting down on costs to wriggle out of a financial crisis, a section of its employees is draining its coffers dry.

Claiming that a large number of teachers of government-aided schools are illegally cornering about Rs 200 crore a year by way of house rent by suppressing facts, Paschimbanga Vidyalaya Paridarshak Samity, an association of state school inspectors, has decided to alert the authorities. The association will submit a memorandum to education minister Kanti Biswas and finance minister Asim Dasgupta to draw their attention to the misuse.

Teachers of all government-aided schools submit house rent declarations twice a year to the grant-in-aid wing of the district inspectors of schools, stating that he or she does not draw house rent from any other source.

A teacher is entitled to 15 per cent of his basic pay as house rent, provided he does not live in government quarters and his spouse does not draw house rent. If both the teacher and his spouse are employed and entitled to house-rent allowances, the total amount of rent drawn from the government should not exceed Rs 2,000.

“A random check will show the declarations as untrue in at least 50 per cent of the cases,” said Samity general secretary Subodh Chakravorty on Monday.

“We will ask the government to make it mandatory for teachers of government-aided schools to mention the occupation of their spouses with permanent and local addresses, so that their statements can be verified later,” he added.

According to Chakravorty, the misuse of funds is being practised in two ways. While a large number of teachers draw house rent despite living in government flats, another group comprises couples, both of whom are teachers or either one of them a government employee.

An inspector of schools, on condition of anonymity, said the All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA) has been controlling the transfer and posting of school inspectors for the past 25 years. So, if a district inspector of schools takes an initiative to verify the statements of the teachers, he will face political harassment.

Instead of refuting the charges, an ABTA spokesperson pointed out that most of the travelling allowance bills submitted by government employees, including district inspectors, were “false and fabricated”.

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