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Bratya announces largesse for principals

Higher education minister Bratya Basu on Monday announced a number of financial benefits for college principals, including increasing the minimum basic pay from Rs 40,000 to Rs 43,390.

The hike, for which a government order was issued during the day, will be effective from January 2006.

Addressing the annual general meeting of the West Bengal Principals’ Council at Raiganj University College, the minister also promised to issue an order making all principals eligible for a monthly car allowance of Rs 6,000 and reimbursement of telephone bills of up to Rs 3,000 a month.

“The principal of each college plays a vital role in imparting quality education. We strongly believe the principals will ensure that the colleges maintain high academic standards,” Basu said.

Metro had on Monday reported that the cash-strapped government had decided to shower financial benefits on the principals in a bid to wean them from Left influence. A large section within the principals’ council still backs the Left Front, though the secretary and president are pro-Trinamul.

Conceding to another long-standing demand of the college heads, the minister announced that the leave-encashment ceiling would be increased from 240 to 300 days. The principals will also be allowed to carry forward their leave status in case they switch institutions.

Once the hike in the basic pay comes into effect, the gross salary of a principal will rise by at least Rs 5,000. The car allowance and telephone bill reimbursement will take the minimum hike to Rs 9,000.

The government hopes the extra benefits will help fill up vacancies. Around half the 452 state-aided colleges do not have a full-time principal. The college service commission had selected 42 candidates last year but only 27 of them joined.