Shillong, Sept. 1: The deficit schoolteachers of the state today threatened to launch a series of agitation by next week if the Mukul Sangma government failed to release 40 per cent arrears as recommended by the Meghalaya Fourth Pay Commission.
Addressing reporters at Shillong Press Club, the president of the Khasi Jaintia Deficit School Teachers’ Association, E.D. Nongsiang, said: “The government had assured us in April this year that 40 per cent arrears would be released by June, but till date we have not received the same.”
Recalling the series of discussions between deficit schoolteachers and the government, Nongsiang said the teachers were yet to receive their salaries for the months of June, July and August.
On August 11, the teachers took up the issues with chief minister Mukul Sangma who assured them that he would look into the grievances, but nothing had been done by the government, Nongsiang said.
He said the teachers had sent a reminder to the chief minister on August 24.
“We are very impatient now and it appears that the government will not act unless we mount pressure,” Nongsiang said.
The action committee of the teachers’ association and the Garo Hills Deficit School Teachers’ and Employees’ Association had already chalked out agitation programmes that will be announced next week, he said.
Coming down heavily on the numerous political appointees made by the present government and the foreign jaunts undertaken by the ministers and legislators, Nongsiang said: “We are disappointed with the politicians especially when they do not translate their words into deeds.”
Susan Syiem, a member of the deficit teachers’ association, said: “We are treated as second-class citizens but we have to stand up for our rights. If there was a political will, it would not have been difficult for the government to clear our pending salaries and arrears.”
She said from now on, the teachers would no longer accept verbal assurances but would ask for everything in “black and white”, adding, “we are geared up to fight without fear.”
The teachers held demonstrations during April to demand payment of salaries to all the 7,172 deficit schoolteachers in the state as recommended by the Fourth Pay Commission.
The government had to relent following which the teachers withdrew their agitation.
Deficit schools in Meghalaya are the ones run by managing committees and charitable institutions, but have the salary structure of the state government except pension and medical incentives.