Just a day after the West Bengal government moved the Supreme Court against the Calcutta High Court’s decision directing the state government to pay dearness allowance (DA) arrears to state government employees within three months, the deadline for which has already expired, a senior member of the state Cabinet on Saturday made an attempt to pacify the affected staff.
“Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has never said that DA arrears will not be paid to the state government employees. It will be paid at the right time. The Chief Minister is trying her best to improve the living condition of the backward people of the state, for which she has introduced various projects. That is why the process of DA arrear payment is getting delayed,” state Parliamentary Affairs and Agriculture Minister, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, said on the floor of the Assembly.
His statement came just a day after the state government moved to the apex court in this matter.
The state government has also submitted an affidavit in the Calcutta High Court, stating that paying DA arrears right now as per the court’s direction might lead to a financial disaster.
Chattopadhyay on Saturday also said that the state government employees, despite not being paid DA arrears, can affor meals two times a day for their families.
“But the Chief Minister’s development projects are aimed at helping those who cannot afford two square meals a day. Even Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen spoke of direct cash transfer to the poor, and our Chief Minister is trying to do exactly that. Hence, the payment of DA arrears is getting delayed,” Chattopadhyay said.
Veteran Congress leader Pradip Bhattacharya said that it is good that at least the state government has admitted the poor health of the state exchequer.
“In that case, what is the justification of paying large sums to Durga Puja committees,” Bhattacharya questioned.