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Bank flaw leads to salary woes

Around 10,000 teachers and other employees of Madhyamik and Higher Secondary schools in the Barrackpore sub-division of North 24-Parganas have been paid incorrect salaries for March, a lapse the government has attributed on a banking error.

While many were shocked for being paid less than what they should have been, others were thrilled to find that an amount more than what was due has been credited to their accounts.

A preliminary inquiry has revealed that discrepancies had cropped up because of wrong billings, a source in the education department said.

The probe has also shown that the salaries were released on the basis of bills submitted by the schools in January.

Chhaya Ghosh, the district inspector schools (DI), Barrackpore, said the mistake had been committed not by the schools or the DI office but by the nationalised bank designated by the government to disburse the salaries.

“The bank authorities have detected the fault and assured us that they would rectify the mistake and do the needful at the earliest,” said Ghosh.

The education department source said it was in the bank’s interest to rectify the fault as the number of teachers and other employees paid more is many times higher than those who have been paid less.

The headmaster of a school said he had received nearly Rs 3,000 more than his salary, whereas a non-teaching employee of another school said he had got Rs 8,000 less than what he was expecting. The source said the affected staff were from 400 schools in the Barrackpore sub-division.

The bank has asked the DI office to issue a notice asking the employees who have been paid more to return the extra amount to the banks.

The Trinamul government had in 2012 introduced the system of transferring salaries to the bank accounts of the teachers. The schools have been given passwords that they have to key in to log into the school education department portal and submit the salary bills online.

After submitting their bills, the schools are required to submit hard copies of the bills to the DIs, following which the education department forwards the bills to the finance department for disbursement. The salaries are then credited to the bank accounts of the teachers.

During the Left Front regime, the bills were prepared manually and they were submitted to the education department through the district inspector of schools. The salaries were paid in cheques through the schools.