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CIMA Gallary

Work on May 31, govt tells babus

Calcutta, May 29: The Mamata Banerjee government today issued an order stating that no state employee would be granted leave on May 31, the day the NDA has called a nationwide strike against the rise in petrol prices.

Today’s order, similar to the one issued ahead of the Left trade union strike on February 28, states: “The state government offices will remain open and all government officers and employees should report for duty. Government employees will not be granted any leave on that day.”

The order for February 28 had said staying off work would be regarded as break in service. Such an order, has so far, not been issued this time.

Senior government officials, however, said a break in service order is widely expected to be issued tomorrow.

The employees’ unions are also waiting to see if the finance department issues an order to deduct a day’s wages for absentees.

In February, the threat of a break in service was eventually not implemented and watered down to a deduction of one day’s pay.

“It is extremely important to see whether such a break in service clause is put in place this time. The order issued today only mentions that no government employee would be granted leave on the strike day. It does not specify what steps will be taken in case employees remain absent. Last time, the finance department had issued the order specifying the break in service clause,” said a leader of the Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of the CPM-dominated state government employees’ unions.

A minister in Mamata’s cabinet made the government’s stand clear. “We are against any kind of strike. We believe that strikes hamper development. We had fought tooth and nail against the strike on February 28 and we will oppose this bandh too. The order issued today states our stance clearly.”

The government also assured it would take all precautionary measures to ensure no untoward incident takes place on May 31.

“Attempts at forcible closure of government offices, shops, markets, educational institutes, industrial establishments etc should be firmly dealt with…. Normal vocation of the people in general should not be allowed to be disturbed. In particular, it should be ensured there is no interruption in normal flow of road traffic or stoppage of movement of trains due to squatting…” the order reads.

The order also states what steps would be taken to keep traffic movement normal. “Extensive road patrolling should be arranged and adequate reserve police personnel be kept with vehicles at strategic centres so that whenever required, they may be deployed quickly to deal with any untoward situation,” reads the order.

Mamata Banerjee today met IAS officers over dinner at Town Hall.

The chief minister said it was a thanks-giving party as all the officers had worked hard over the year. She reportedly thanked all the officers for helping the state achieve “so much success” in a short period.

Mamata is scheduled to meet IPS officers over dinner tomorrow.