The dispute over dearness allowance (DA) has reached a critical crossroad, with over 5,000 teachers of Anglo-Indian schools determined to drag the conflict against the government to court.
The proposed move has been prompted by the decision of some schools to refuse DA grants from the government to guard against ‘administrative interference’. The teachers now claim it is unfair for the government to stop their DA “only on the basis of appeals received by it from some school officials”.
Teachers point out that the DA grants are released to each of the 67 Anglo-Indian schools in the state against the names of individual teachers. So, insist the teachers, the decision to do away with DA should have been finalised by the government only after consulting them.
“We are surprised that the government has stopped our DA without consulting us. We will move court soon if the government stops the DA grant to Anglo-Indian schools only on the basis of appeals by the managements,” said a teacher of an Anglo-Indian school in south Calcutta.
“We hope the government will safeguard our interests,” said Ismail Nehal, president of the Association of Teachers of Anglo-Indian Schools.
State school education minister Kanti Biswas, however, said his government had no option but to stop the teachers’ DA after receiving appeals to the effect from school officials.
“We understand the point being raised by the teachers, but there is nothing that we can do under the circumstances. The DA is sent by us to the schools on the basis of the bills that they raise with us. The schools are the employers and they have to send us the bills in the names of the teachers. Some of the schools that have refused to receive the DA from us will obviously not send us the bills. So, the question of offering the DA to them does not arise,” clarified Biswas.