Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit out at the opposition-backed protests over Dearness Allowance issue, declaring the state does not have funds to pay any more to its employees. The Opposition BJP, Congress and the Left in the state have been demanding Dearness Allowance or DA on par with Central government employees.
“They keep asking for more. How much more will I give?” Ms Banerjee told the state legislative assembly on Monday.
“It is not possible for our government to give any more DA. We don’t have the money. We have given an additional 3 per cent DA. You may chop my head off if you are not happy with it. How much more do you need?” she said.
State Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya, who presented the 2023-24 budget in the assembly on February 15, had announced that the government will pay 3 per cent additional DA to its employees, including teachers and pensioners, from March.
Till now, the state had been giving 3 per cent of the basic salary as DA and the budget announcement meant that the government will pay 3 per cent additional DA to its employees, including teachers and pensioners, from March.
Ms Banerjee hit out at the Left and BJP in her speech. Both parties are supporting the ongoing state government employees’ demand for DA at par with central government employees.
“Central government and state government pay scales are different. Today the BJP, Congress, and the CPM have come together. Which other government gives so many holidays with pay?” Mamata Banerjee asked.
“I have paid DA amounting to 1 lakh 79 thousand crore to government employees. We have 40 days of leave with pay. Why are you comparing with the Central Government? We give free rice but look at the price of cooking gas? They increased prices a day after elections. What else do these people need to be satisfied?” Ms Banerjee said, hitting out at the Opposition.
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