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Civic teachers to return Rs 2 crore

Around 300 teachers of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) schools will have to return more than Rs 2 crore they had overdrawn with their salaries for the past 23 years. On an average, each teacher will have to return around Rs 70,000.

The anomalies in the pay scales have already been rectified and the civic authorities said they would soon start realising the overdrawn amount.

While the authorities blamed the overdrawing on the teachers who had “illegally” opted for pay scales under two schemes simultaneously, sources said officials in the civic education and accounts department, too, were party to the scam.

Joint municipal commissioner Shahidul Islam said a probe was on to identify errant officials.

There are 245 civic schools with 29,070 students and 546 teachers. Officials said the overdrawing came to light in 2008 when municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay called for a financial status report of the civic education department.

The CMC has two pay scales for its teachers — one under the Career Advance Scheme and the other under the Reorganisation Scheme.

Under the Career Advance Scheme, the pay scale of a teacher is upgraded every 10 years. In the other scheme, a teacher with a B.Ed or basic training degree is given a one-time pay increment after completing five years in service and thereafter awarded a hike in 10-year intervals under the Career Advance Scheme.

“Say, a teacher who joined service in 1987 did his B.Ed in 1995. If he had availed himself of a hike under the Career Advance Scheme in 1997 then he was not to be awarded any increment under the Reorganisation Scheme in 2000, five years after completing B.Ed. And if he had opted for the Reorganisation Scheme forgoing the hike in 1997, the next increment would have come in 2007,” said an official.

Chief manager (education) Sabyasachi Dey said the 300-odd teachers had availed themselves of the benefits of both schemes simultaneously, which was illegal.

A section of civic teachers alleged that the leaders of the Kalikata Poura Shikshak O Karmachari Sangha were responsible for the scam. But association general secretary Sushil Bhattacharaya asked: “Why did officials in education and accounts departments pass the salary bills years on end without scrutiny?”

Asked whether the teachers were being penalised for the fault of a section of officials, mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said: “The teachers cannot shirk their responsibility as they had been accepting inflated salaries for years. They should have pointed out the mistake to the higher authorities.”

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