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Widows get dues, three decades late

Calcutta, Nov. 23: Calcutta High Court today asked the state government to immediately disburse family pensions to the widows of two primary school teachers who died in harness over three decades ago.

The court also ordered that the widow of a teacher who retired in 1970 be paid her pension dues within three months.

Nagendranath Kirtania, a resident of Chandipur under Baduria police station in North 24-Parganas district, had joined Ashutosh Prathamik Vidyalaya in 1964. He died after nine years of service, leaving wife Pritikona with five minor children.

In a notification dated April 1, 1981, the government had announced that the widows of teachers who have retired or died in harness in or after 1970 would be given family pensions.

Struggling to make ends meet, Pritikona ran the gamut of government offices to get her dues, but in vain. Early this year, she moved the high court.

The government lawyer today argued that the widow could not be given the pension as the school where Kirtania was a teacher is yet to submit the relevant records.

Justice Girish Chandra Gupta asked the school authorities to prepare the records and send them to the education department within six weeks.

'After receiving the records, the department will have to pay all the dues to the widow within the subsequent six weeks,' he said,

The same order was passed in the case of Sarama Das, whose husband Jagannath Das had died in 1974. Jagannath had been a teacher of Sekhpur Primary Bidyayatan at Ghona in North 24-Parganas since 1952.

The third petitioner was Lila Roy, the widow of Hriday Haran Roy, who retired from Uttar Champapukur Vidyalaya at Baduria in North 24-Parganas on August 31, 1970.

Hriday, who had applied for pension to the school education department, was directed to the North 24-Parganas district inspector of schools (primary). Accordingly, he made a written application but did not get a reply. When he met the inspector, he was sent back to the education department.

After Hriday died in 1990 at the age of 80, Lila approached the government for family pension. The indifference of the government officials prompted her to move the high court, which ruled in her favour.

However, a widow from Mangalkot in Burdwan is still waiting for justice.

In July this year, the high court had ruled in her favour when she moved a petition demanding family pension. Her husband, also a primary school teacher, had died in harness 33 years ago.

But the school education department is yet to carry out the high court order. The widow had also moved a contempt petition against the government, which is pending with the court.

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