CTC worker wallowing in penury commits suicide
25 January 2012
statesman news service
KOLKATA, 25 JAN: Unable to cope with penury, a Calcutta Tramways Company (CTC) employee ended his life late last night.
Vikram Singh (27), who joined as a maintenance staff at the Ghashbagan depot 14 months ago, did not receive his salary for the past four months and committed suicide last night by hanging himself from the ceiling of his room at Nabagram in Konnagar, Hooghly following a tiff over financial crisis with his wife.
The state transport department put a hold on salary of 258 employees of CTC who joined in the past 14 months. According to the affected employees, the state government did not allow CTC authorities to clear the salary as the new Trinamul Congress-led government has a “notion” that these people were recruited illegally during the erstwhile Left Front regime. Police came to know after speaking to the victim's wife, Mrs Kumkum Singh, that the victim was passing through an acute financial crisis. Last night, they had an altercation when she had asked him to go to a grocery shop.
“He refused to go as the owner of the shop would have asked him to clear his dues,” said Mrs Singh, adding he secured the door of the room from inside after she went to the grocery shop and hanged himself. “I knocked on the door repeatedly, but he did not respond. Neighbours came rushing after hearing me cry and broke open the door. He was immediately rushed to hospital where he was declared brought dead,” said Mrs Singh. The body was later sent to Walsh Hospital for an autopsy.
Senior CPI-M leaders visited the victim's house and spoke to his wife. The body was later brought to the CTC depot at Ghashbagan where Vikram's co-workers paid him homage.
Mr Kalyan Kumar Das, another affected employee, said Vikram had asked him for some money, but he failed to help him as he was also passing through the same situation. “He was further depressed after watching the state transport minister, Mr Madan Mitra's comment on news channels that the state government will no more give subsidy to transport corporations,” said Mr Das.
“We had provided all documents the CTC authorities had asked us to submit at the time of our joining. Again after the change of guard in the state all the employees had to submit their documents, but Mr Shantilal Jain, CTC chairman, did not forward our documents to the state government,” alleged Mr Das, adding some more employees may choose the same path if the state government keeps “betraying”.
The state transport minister Mr Madan Mitra today termed the incident as unfortunate and said that the matter is being probed into. Mr Mitra said he spoke to the employee's mother who told him that her son did not stay with her but was yet to get the details as to what led to the suicide. He said it is being falsely propagated that the government's decision to withdraw subsidy has compelled the employee to commit suicide. He, however, reiterated his yesterday's statement today by saying that the subsidy would not be withdrawn at one go but it would be done in phases.
When questioned on the delay in disbursing salaries and pension benefits of transport employees, Mr Mitra admitted that the government somehow managed to give the salary for the month of November adding the issue is of prime concern to the chief minister Mamata Banerjee who would hold a meeting with the heads of the transport corporations on Friday. “I can assure you this much that the government would deal the issue with a humanitarian face,” he added. “The state is witnessing farmer suicides in the districts and starvation deaths in closed down tea gardens. Now even workers are commuting suicides and that too, working in state government undertaking transport units,” said the Leader of Opposition, Surjya Kanta Mishra. He demanded that the next of kin of the deceased CTC employee be adequately compensated.