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“The letter was mistakenly issued” – Teachers who conducted caste-based census in Bihar won’t get compensatory casual leave

Main Media resident sub-editor Nawazish Alam Reported By Nawazish Alam |
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A few months ago, teachers in Bihar were assigned the task of conducting caste-based census by the state government. Letters were issued by Block Development Officers, stating that compensatory casual leave would be granted in exchange for working on holidays during the census period. However, it is now being said that these teachers will not be eligible for compensatory casual leave. The letters were mistakenly issued.

In a letter issued on January 23, 2023, by the Block Development Officer of Pothia in Kishanganj, it was mentioned that the first phase of the caste-based census work, which took place between January 7 and January 21, had been completed. In lieu of the work done during the appointed period and on Sundays and gazetted holidays, compensatory casual leave would be granted.

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A similar letter was issued by the Block Development Officers of Jokihat and Forbesganj in Araria district. The complete details of the approval for compensatory casual leave were documented in an order issued by the BDO of Forbesganj on June 5.

However, after nearly 6 months of issuing the letters, it has now come to the officials’ attention that the previous letters were mistakenly issued. Now, these letters are being nullified, despite many teachers already availing compensatory casual leave for participating in the caste-based census work.

On July 5, a letter was issued by the District Magistrate of Kishanganj. In this letter, the DM sought clarification from the BDO regarding the issuance of the letters. It is being stated that after the issuance of the DM’s letter, the District Education Officer of Kishanganj is considering nullifying the compensatory casual leave.

The letter states, “Continuous observation has revealed that teachers/principals have been granted approval for compensatory casual leave by the BDO / Charge Officer in light of the caste-based census work, and the concerned teachers/principals have been continuously utilising it. It is notable that the budget for the aforementioned work has been allocated at the departmental level, due to which compensatory casual leave cannot be granted. Additionally, no departmental directive has been received regarding this matter.”

In this letter, it is directed to cancel the compensatory casual leave and convert the compensatory casual leave already utilized by teachers into casual leave. Similar letters have also been issued by the Block Development Officers of Jokihat, Forbesganj, and Nardiganj in Nawada district.

In this situation, a question arises as to how a letter could be mistakenly issued by any official. This has become a topic of discussion among teachers. Teacher leaders say that during the harsh cold and scorching heat, teachers were pressured to conduct the caste-based census work even during their holidays.

Teachers argue that in return for their work, they have not been paid the government’s stipulated amount. compensatory casual leave, which was granted in exchange for work during holidays, has now been canceled. In this regard, teacher leaders say that if teachers are assigned census work again in the future, all teachers will oppose it and distance themselves from caste-based census work.

Regarding this matter, Meraj Khan, the working district president of the Araria TET Preliminary Teachers’ Association, stated that saying that the issuance of mistakenly issued letters by the charge officer is extremely embarrassing. The Bihar Service Code clearly provides instructions regarding compensatory casual leave, stating that if any employee is made to work on holidays or public leave days, they are entitled to compensatory casual leave. In this context, it is quite amusing for the charge officer to claim that the letter regarding compensatory casual leave was mistakenly issued.

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Nawazish Alam hails from Purnia district in Bihar. He pursued Convergent Journalism at AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. His passions lie in the realms of politics, cricket, and history.

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