Amid protests over a state government directive for teachers to open salary accounts in the Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank (MDCB), a letter issued from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s education department said teachers would be able to access their August salaries only through an account in MDCB.
On Wednesday, Nitin Bachhav, education officer for western suburbs, issued a letter to all principals and headmasters/mistresses. The letter said the salaries of teachers would be credited to MDCB and they would have to open salary accounts in the bank to withdraw their August pay. On July 12, too, the BMC education department had issued a similar letter, which led to protests by the teachers.
“Teachers are completely against the decision. It is unfair to pressurise principals to in turn force teachers for opening accounts in MDCB,” said Uday Nare, a teacher at Hansraj Morarji Public School. On June 3, a government resolution directed secondary-level teachers of government schools, who receive salaries from the government, to open salary accounts with the MDCB, which is headed by Bharatiya Janata Party MLC Pravin Darekar.
Teachers have been against this decision ever since. “Why should teachers be forced to open accounts in a district cooperative bank with a political connection? The minister cannot force teachers, when we already have accounts in a nationalised bank,” said J M Abhayankar, president of the Maharashtra Rajya Shishak Sena, which is affiliated to Shiv Sena.
Currently, around 27,000 teachers of secondary schools have their salary accounts in the nationalised Union Bank as per a government order of 2011. They are unwilling to switch to a new bank.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Education Minister Vinod Tawde had earlier said no rules were flouted while making the decision. “Whatever decision was taken, it was well within the rights of the government. The decision was based on the fact that teachers are getting more facilities in the MDCB than what they were getting earlier,” he had said.
However, teachers have contested this claim. “We are not getting any additional advantage. If the district cooperative bank is better, all ministers should first open their accounts there,” said Nare.
Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said the party would take up the matter at the upcoming monsoon session of the Legislative Assembly.