Unruly scenes were witnessed at Writers’ Buildings, just about 50 metres from chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s chamber, on Friday.
Over 300 government employees, affiliated to the apolitical West Bengal Government Employees’ Union (Nabaparjay), a breakaway faction of the Left-dominated Coordination Committee, nearly broke down the collapsible gates leading to the high-protection zone of the corridors of power.
Bhattacharjee, however, was not in his office during the two-hour demonstration.
For the past week, the employees were protesting non-payment of dearness allowance (DA) and the uncertainty over this year’s Puja bonus.
“We have been told that finance minister Asim Dasgupta is not in town, but Buddhababu is. We wanted to inform him of our grievances,” said Tapan Chakraborty, general secretary of the union, which has over 2,000 members.
“On behalf of all state government employees, we demand payment of our DA arrears for 21 months and the announcement of bonus at 8.33 per cent,” Chakraborty added. Last year, all government employees were paid Rs 2,000 as bonus, a month before the Pujas.
The demonstrators also voiced concern over mounting debts forcing Writers’ Buildings employees to kill themselves. Two employees had committed suicide — one by jumping off the second floor and the other by hanging himself in a toilet — within a week. Earlier, labour minister Mohammad Amin appealed to private firms to disburse Puja bonus by September 17.