Just Anti-Left, Not Improving Work CulturePre-emptive move by Bengal government
By Sunil Garodia
In her efforts to foil a victory for Left unions, Mamata Banerjee has done something that was hitherto unthinkable in Bengal. She has moved in to pre-empt state government employees from taking an extended weekend holiday in the light of the strike call on 2nd September given by all unions in India.
Attendance made compulsory
Since 2nd September is Friday, the state government anticipated application for leave from 1st to 5th of the month. In a swift move, the government cancelled every kind of leave for its staff on Thursday, 1st September and Monday 5th September, apart from making attendance compulsory on 2nd, the day of the expected strike.
Mamatas opposition to anything connected with the Left had meant that she had always made attendance mandatory for government staff on the day any strike call is given by Left parties; in addition to employing the full might of the state to foil such a bandh.
A first for the state
But given that the Bengali is bitten by the travel bug, cancelling leave on the days preceding and following the bandh day was something unheard of in Bengal. Employees would make plans for an extended holiday around the bandh day and leaves would be granted in the usual course. This is a first for the state that the staff is being prevented from taking extended leave in such a circumstance.
Not a measure to improve work culture
Not much, apart from didis ultra anti-Left stance can be read into this as Mamata has been easy with adding new holidays to the state calendar. Hence, it would be too early to cheer this measure as a move towards improving the atrocious work culture in the state. This measure can at best be said to be a one-off designed as a politically expedient move.