Written byGogona Saikia ·
Once again, the TMC government in WB has given all married men under government employment an occasion to rejoice- a half-day off on 'Jamai Sashti.'
It was a shock for locals when CM Mamata Banerjee first declared a similar off in 2013; now it has become an expected perk.
Most government offices closed at 2pm today.
But not everyone is happy with this move.
'Jamai Sashti' is the Day of the Son-in-Law: today, he's fed extravagant meals and given expensive gifts by the bride's family.
According to mythology, the day is a tribute to Ma Sashti, who helped an inconsolable couple, whose child was stillborn, by breathing life into the baby.
Despite only married men being celebrated, many claim today is about seeking blessings for the whole family.
As with any festival involving food, prices of items, especially fish, shot sky high in Kolkata: while Hilsa was selling for Rs. 800-1,000/kg, Rohu touched Rs. 450 and Bata, Rs. 150.
Fish delicacies like 'ilish bhapa,' 'sorshe chingri' and 'paturi' are some common components of the 'Jamai Sashti' platter.
This has actually forced many to shelve traditions and eat out instead, a resident said.
On the occasion, 'jamais' of the state, namely those working in "state government offices, urban and rural Bodies, corporations, undertakings, educational institutions and other offices under the control of Government of West Bengal," get to go home at 2pm.
But offices of the Registrar of Assurances, the Collector of Stamp Revenue, and the WB State Beverages Corporation Ltd are exempt.
Today's half-day off wasn't a surprise. Banerjee is known for expanding the list of sectional holidays - holidays meant for particular communities.
In 2012, she added Chhath to this list. There's Shab-e-Baraat for Muslims and Buddha Jayanti for Buddhists.
In fact, this year, state government employees have 37 holidays apart from their weekends, casual, sick and earned leaves, a total of around 150 days.
Not everyone is happy. When the TMC government started handing half-day offs on 'Jamai Sashti,' a young employee wondered, "On one hand, the CM talks of improving work culture, on the other, she grants us leave on such occasions."
For others like Krishnendu Neogi, a Kolkata Municipal Corporation official, their shift anyway ends by 2pm. They should be let off sooner or given compensatory offs, he said.
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