A government order granting higher position and better perks as to junior primary school teachers across the state, as compared to trained teachers, has not gone down well with members of the primary teachers’ organisations.

The organisation members have filed complaints with the district primary school councils (DPSC) against the state government’s order No 510/SE/P/10M-06/09/PT-I issued on 26 July 2019. As per the order, the junior teachers will also be paid higher than experienced teachers who have completed over 18 years in service.

Though the order came a year ago, it has not been implemented, while district level junior teachers are now demanding its execution and district authorities have started preparing the pay fixation with normal annual increment from July this year.

Officials say the same will be disbursed in early August this year. General Secretary of the Pashchimbanga Prathamik Shikshak Samiti, Malda district branch, Debabrata Mukherjee, has appealed to the DPSC chairman to look into the matter.

According to Mr Mukherjee, senior teachers who have joined service in 2002 and completed 18 years, are drawing salary at Level-9 as per Higher Level ROPA-19 (Revision of Pay and Allowance). On the other hand, junior teachers, eve those who complete 18 years later, will be drawing salary at Level-10 as per ROPA-19. “This deprivation as well as discrimination is very humiliating and painful for us,” Mr Mukherjee said in a letter he shot to the DPSC chairman some days ago. Not only in north Bengal, officials in South Bengal are facing a similar problem, despite other government clarification issued on 13 July 2019 (Memo No 693-SE) and even government order (No 437 -SE (P&B) / SL) on 13 December 2019. Assistant Director of Accounts, School Education department, in a letter to the District Inspector of Schools in Murshidabad on 15 July 2020, on the issue of fixation of pay for readying retirement file on completion of 18 years, said: “A trained primary teacher who has completed 18 years of service will enjoy the enhanced ‘Grade Pay’ of Rs 3600 only.” “As there is no clear guideline, clarification regarding fixation of pay on completion of 18 years of service of a trained teacher as ROPA-19 may be sought from higher authorities,” the Assistant Director added.

Asked to comment, the DI, Primary, in Alipurduar district, Sujit Sarkar, said: “We have not yet received any complaint on this issue. Pay fixation will be made as per government orders and instructions from higher authorities. Junior teachers will never get more salary than senior teachers. The government will certainly look into the matter to resolve the issue.”

A former government official, Ujjal Kumar Das, who retired as the Joint Director from tge Directorate of Pensions at Uttarkanya here recently, said: “The teacher who will complete 18 years of service after 01-08-2019 will not be moved to higher Grade Pay ( ROPA 2009)/ Higher Level ROPA 2019 after completion of 18 years of service.” “However, there is a provision when a government employee got promotion or advancement to a post in the same scale, and he may be allowed one increment in the same Grade Pay or same Pay Level,” Mr Das added. “It is high time a clarification is sought and pay fixation readied properly, otherwise primary teachers will face another problem readying their pension file before retirement,” he said.