Guwahati: The salaries of about 200 education department officials in the state, including the Director of Elementary Education, have been withheld over their failure to disburse the salaries of over 16,000 school teachers for the last 12 months, Assam government said on Saturday.
"I will not hesitate to take action against all (of the officials). If the teachers do not get their salaries by February 1, the next step, like suspension, will follow," state Education Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, told reporters here.
"We provincialised the jobs of around 18,000 LP and ME school teachers last year... Of them, around 90 per cent
have not got their salaries.
"The finance department gave an order to release their salaries around 40 days back, but nothing has been done," Sarma said at a press conference.
The teachers have not received salaries since January, 2013, and the 200 officials, who have been paid their salaries for December, would not get the same for this month and onwards until and unless the teachers have received their dues in full.
The review of the step taken by the state government will take place on February 7, the minister added.
He said the matter had nothing to do with corruption but was a "simple case of negligence and lack of professionalism".
"Strangely, nobody has complained so far. I am taking this step to instill professionalism in the education department,"
he said, adding that around 200 officials would have to bear the brunt of the decision to freeze salaries. Sarma said the list included the Director of Elementary Education, 28 district elementary education officers, 26 block inspectors and 122 block officers.
"I wrote many letters, the DCs of many districts wrote letters, but nothing happened. That is why we took this extreme step and issued an order yesterday," Sarma said.
The state government had appointed 8,000 new teachers across the state and they are getting their salaries on a timely basis, the minister added.