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Schools closed

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 24: Classes in all the 31 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) in the state remained suspended today with the teaching and non-teaching staff going on a “mass casual leave” in protest against alleged discrimination by the Centre.

This was part of a nationwide protest by the staff of nearly 600 JNVs, which are governed by the Union ministry of human resource development (HRD).

The protesters alleged that the Centre had been consistently neglecting their demand to implement the long-pending Central Civil Services pension scheme of 1972.

“Barring the JNVs, the employees of all educational institutions under the HRD ministry are entitled to pension benefits. It is high time that the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti pays attention to our welfare and recognises our hard work,” said Pradipta Pal, a senior teacher of JNV at Mundali, Cuttack.

The agitators said the employees of Centre-run Kendriya Vidyalayas, National Institutes of Open Schooling, National Council of Educational Research and Training and Central Board of Secondary Education have been included in the pension scheme.

The joint-action committee of service association of the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti had called for the mass leave today. The protesters have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from February 6 if their demands were not met.

The 31 JNVs in Odisha have around 1,200 staff and 16,000 students.