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Para-teachers step up heat

Para-teachers, who are on an indefinite strike for over a fortnight, staged protests in front of the block resource centres of East Singhbhum district as part of their state-wide gherao programme on Wednesday.

The protesters, who went on the strike on August 28 in demand for regularisation of their services and salary hike, stepped up the agitation to mount pressure on an otherwise “unconcerned” government.

At the block resource centres of East Singhbhum, the protests continued for about five hours. About 50 para-teachers agitated in front of the block resource centre at Ambagan Sakchi.

Members of Jharkhand Rajya Sahyogi Mitra Para Shikshak Sangh, Jharkhand, have decided to write to President Pranab Mukherjee through Governor Syed Ahmed.

“The state government has turned a blind eye to our problems. More than two weeks have passed since we started agitating, but nothing has been done to address our demands. As a result, studies in primary and middle schools have been largely affected as there are no teachers to take classes. In East Singhbhum alone, 2,800 teachers are on strike. This also shows that the government is not serious about the education of children,” said Sumit Tiwary, president of Jharkhand Rajya Sahyogi Mitra Para Shikshak Sangh, East Singhbhum.

East Singhbhum education department officials, however, maintained that alternative arrangements had been made to ensure that classes were being held and students were not deprived of midday meal.

“Initially, we appointed village youths, but now we have managed to depute government teachers at the primary schools that are entirely run by para-teachers. We have deputed at least one teacher per school so that classes are not disrupted. This stopgap measure will be in place till the striking teachers come back,” said district superintendent of education Indubhushan Singh.