Bhubaneswar, Feb. 4: Teachers from 662 colleges of the state today took out a rally to reiterate their demand for equal pay for equal work.
Around 2,000 lecturers from junior and degree colleges marched down Mahatma Gandhi Marg here in a silent procession, pressing a finger on their lips. They rued that their salaries were not at par with that of their counterparts in government-aided colleges.
The teachers have been protesting since January 28. “Despite having put in 20 years of service, we are being paid a pittance of Rs 5,000. The amount is extremely low for a decent living,” said Pranjala Senapati, a lecturer from Khurda.
“The teachers in the government-aided colleges teach the same course and work for lesser hours but draw five times our salary. This is unfair,” said Sarapuddin Ahmed, another teacher, adding that despite several requests and protests, their demands had fallen on deaf ears.
“The state government continues to be indifferent to our woes,” he said.
These teachers, under the banner of the All Odisha Non-Government Lecturers and Employees’ Association, have threatened to continue and intensify their protests if the state government did not address their demands.
The association has planned a candle rally tomorrow evening protesting against the alleged indifference of part of the government.
“We have handed over a memorandum of demands to chief minister Naveen Patnaik and the higher education authorities. If our demands are not fulfilled within a week, more than one lakh teachers along with students will carry out a civil disobedience campaign near the Assembly,” said president of the association Golak Nayak.
He said their primary demand was 100 per cent block grant with the policy of equal pay for equal work. “We will not withdraw till our demands are met,” he said.
The 662 colleges were earlier run under various private managements and allowed for 40 per cent block grant in 2009. These colleges are lying closed as a result of the protest, affecting the students badly.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to students. However, both parents and students are supporting us in our agitation for our legitimate demands,” said Nayak.