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No pay, no class, say SSA teachers

Kohima, March 10: Teachers appointed under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) in Nagaland have begun an indefinite boycott of classes from today because of non-release of their salaries since November last year.

There are 2,730 teachers appointed under SSA since 2010 but their salaries were not paid regularly by the government.

“We will boycott classes till our demands are fulfilled,” said president of Nagaland SSA Teachers’ Association, Visechol Chaya. General secretary Samina Meru seconded him.

The indefinite boycott of classes will affect the students of government primary schools in the state.

The association had earlier submitted a memorandum to the government on January 30 but none of their demands were addressed.

The demands included induction as regular government employees and not employees of flagship programmes and that the salaries of the SSA teachers be released from the non-plan revenue expenditure. The association has also asked that all new appointments and filling up of vacant posts be stopped till the issue of SSA teachers is resolved. It also requested the student organisations and NGOs to extend their support to the aggrieved teachers so that the matter could be settled at the earliest.

The department of school education said it empathises with the hardships of the teachers, stressing that it has sent an SSA mission team to New Delhi to pressure the Centre to release funds for payment of salaries to the teachers.

Regarding the possibilities of finding “ways and means” to release salaries through the state government’s own resources, the commissioner and secretary of school education T. Imkonglemba Ao said for that they would have to divert funds allocated to other schemes, thereby creating a similar problem in that area.

Ao requested the teachers to call off their agitation, considering the efforts that have been put in by the state government, adding that it is just a matter of time that the pending salaries will be released.

In a related development, the state finance department has decided to release pending salaries, in its entirety, for the current financial year following the receipt of Rs 16.53 crore from the Centre for payment of salaries to 1,379 Hindi teachers appointed under centrally sponsored schemes.

The Hindi teachers were also protesting non-release of salaries for several months.