Bhubaneswar, Aug. 19: The combined Opposition today stalled the proceedings of the Assembly supporting the demands of the agitating teachers and employees of more than 1,900 block grant high schools across the state.
The Opposition Congress and BJP members stormed the well shouting slogans against the Naveen Patnaik government and in support of the agitating teachers. They demanded immediate discussion on the issue, suspending all other business.
Even Amar Satpathy, leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, an ally of the ruling BJD, urged the Speaker to direct the government to hold discussion with the agitating teachers.
Significantly, veteran BJD legislator and former minister Damodar Rout indirectly supported the agitating teachers’ demands. “The government is not bound to give grant-in-aid to each and every school. However, it’s not proper on the part of government to accord permission to open new schools, if it is unable to pay salary to teachers.”
However, the ruling BJD members tried to divert the issue by raising the issue of frequent price rise of essential commodities.
As the Speaker ignored their demand for taking up discussion on the block grant issue immediately and went ahead with the listed business, the enraged Congress and BJP members tried to disrupt the proceedings.
Angry Congress members Rama Chandra Kadam and Debi Prasanna Chand were seen standing on a chair near the speaker’s podium and trying to disrupt the proceedings by snatching the microphone from his table. On the other hand, their party colleague, Dusmant Nayak, climbed up on the podium despite resistance from the security staff.
Finding it difficult to run the House, speaker Pradip Kumar Amat adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes to restore normalcy. However, the unruly scenes continued on resumption of the business, forcing adjournment till 3pm.
Around 24,000 teachers and employees working in 1,983 block grant high schools have launched an indefinite cease work agitation since August 1 demanding abolition of block grant and revival of full grant-in-aid system.