An employee of the Calcutta Tramways Corporation who allegedly set himself on fire and succumbed to his burn injuries four days later here on Saturday had taken his life as he was depressed for not having been paid his salary for the past three months, his family members said here on Sunday.
Gopal Chandra Dey (50) was engaged in the Belgachia tram depot. A section of his colleagues also blamed the State’s Transport Department’s apathetic attitude towards their employees and for failing to pay their salaries and other financial dues.
With his death, seven employees of various State transport bodies have committed suicide because they were not paid their salaries on time, said Rajdeo Goala, senior leader of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) – the labour wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
There was an altercation between transport workers belonging to the CITU and the trade union wing of the Trinamool Congress when the body of Gopal Chandra Dey was taken to his place of work.
Commenting on the incident, Mr Goala said Trinamool Congress supporters, some carrying the party flag, started shouting slogans alleging that salaries were not paid on time by the authorities even during the tenure of the previous Left Front government.
Sanju Das, nephew of Gopal Chandra Dey said that his uncle had not been paid his salary for the past three months.
“He was also denied Puja bonus last month and thus could not buy any gifts for his family….The financial stress was too much for him to bear,” he said.
State’s Transport Minister Madan Mitra told a local television channel that the charge that Gopal Chandra Dey had not been paid his salary was not right. Only a month’s salary was due to him and this was because of procedural delays. The matter was being looked into.
The State government is entirely responsible for the plight of transport workers who are having to do without their salaries, former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had said on Saturday.
“This is an inhuman government which is unable to pay salaries to its transport sector workers but had announced an increase by several folds of that of its ministers, Mr Bhattacharjee had added.