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Tamil Nadu govt freezes Dearness Allowance; opposition parties slam move

DMK president M K Stalin slammed the fiscal management of the ruling AIADMK, while AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran said it was not "acceptable" that the government has burdened its employees with such a measure.

By: PTI | Chennai | Updated: April 28, 2020 8:00:39 pm
Tamil Nadu govt freezes Dearness Allowance; opposition parties slam move An effigy on coronavirus installed by Greater Chennai Corporation is seen hanging on a pole to spread awareness among people, in Chennai. (PTI Photo: R Senthil Kumar)

The DMK and other opposition parties in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday slammed the freezing of Dearness Allowance (DA) and earned leave (EL) for the state government staff, calling it “anti-employee” and “regrettable.”

DMK president M K Stalin slammed the fiscal management of the ruling AIADMK, while Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader TTV Dhinakaran said it was not “acceptable” that the government has burdened its employees with such a measure.

Citing the severe fiscal crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tamil Nadu government on Monday announced freezing of additional installment of DA for its employees and pensioners till July 2021 and suspended EL encashment for a year.

“The attack by the AIADMK government on its salaried employees through (these) orders is indeed regrettable,” Stalin said in a statement.

The government staff were working overtime in these times of the spread of the pandemic and lakhs of such personnel from various departments, including Health, Police, Revenue and Municipal Administration were serving with dedication, he added.

The AIADMK government’s move would “demoralise” the workforce, the Leader of the Opposition added.

Contrary to claims by the government and Chief Minister K Palaniswami, the state’s fiscal management was not proper, Stalin said and pointed to the Rs 4.56 lakh crore debt.

Rather than “squeezing” employees’ salaries, the state government should ensure it received from the Centre its dues like GST share, Finance Commission allocations and the sum demanded to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

Dhinakaran, an independent legislator, said it was “not acceptable” to effect such measures during “these times of crisis” when government staff, including COVID-19 frontline workers were serving society with dedication.

“The government could avoid so much unnecessary expenditure…how can it be acceptable to burden those who are the vital cog in the government machinery,?” he asked.

Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) chief Kamal Haasan also slammed the move.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi insists private firms “should not distrees its employees in this crisis,” why have the state and central governments effected DA freeze, he said in a tweet.

“This balcony government has to understand that it is their duty to also save our entrepreneurs and our workforce now,” he added.

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