Calcutta, Sept. 8: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has decided to allow teachers of around 400 state-aided colleges to encash accumulated leave for 240 days at the time of their retirement.
Under the existing system, teachers can apply to the college governing body before retirement, requesting 90 days’ leave encashment.
The order to give them another five months’ salary came 10 days before elections to the West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association (WBCUTA).
In an order dated August 30, a higher education department deputy secretary said the “governor is pleased to decide that the ceiling on accumulation of leave for teachers in government-aided colleges be fixed at 240 days and also introduce encashment of that period of leave…”.
In the system prevailing, if the governing body refuses leave for 90 days before retirement saying the teacher is essential for the college, only then is the person entitled to encash the leave. “This is really humiliating for a college teacher who is about to retire. That is why we have decided to do away with the system,” higher education minister Sudarshan Roychowdhury said today.
The decision, he added, will automatically entitle teachers to 240 days’ accumulated leave and the salary for the period. All teachers of state-aided colleges retiring on or after August 31 would benefit.
WBCUTA will go to polls tomorrow after two years.
Over 1,350 teachers will vote in the poll for which Left-controlled Siksha Ganatantrikaran Sanstha and the Democratic Teachers for Autonomy and Academic Freedom have fielded 18 candidates each.
Of the 36 candidates in the fray, 24 will be elected to the executive committee through secret ballot. Of them, five would be later elected office-bearers — president, general secretary, two vice-presidents and treasurer — at the November 16-18 WBCUTA annual general meeting in Bankura town.
“We don’t have any objec-tion to the decision but to its timing. It is bound to influence tomorrow’s voting,” said Tarun Naskar, a member of the non-Left forum.
College teachers’ demand to fix their accumulated leave at 240 days before retirement and allow them to encash it is long-standing. “Why has the Left Front taken the decision on the eve of the polls'” Naskar asked.
Mahammed Sanwaj, a philosophy teacher of Tarakes- war Degree College in Hooghly, called it “an attempt to bribe our voters”.
Commerce teacher of Uluberia college Srutinath Praharaj, a member of the pro-Left union, said: “Those crying foul now had backed us when we pleaded with the government to implement the policy. This is double-dealing.”