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Govt wakes up to teacher job grouse

Calcutta, July 3: The Bengal government is learnt to have sent the message to candidates protesting alleged anomalies in the recruitment of teachers that their demands would be “favourably considered”, the move after months of dithering coming a day before HRD minister Smriti Irani meets them.

The state BJP has fixed the meeting between aggrieved candidates, who have been organising a hunger strike at College Square since Friday, and Smriti. Around 200 of the 6,000 candidates who were empanelled last year but are yet to get appointment letters have been fasting.

The candidates, who had taken the School Service Commission exam in 2012, have alleged that they are not being recruited despite vacancies. The government has said the posts for subjects for which the 6,000 candidates were empanelled have been filled up.

The 6,000 candidates had repeatedly requested the state government to issue the appointment letters but did not get a response till the administration apparently sent the feelers today.

Sources said a senior official today “communicated” to the agitators that the administration was “favourably considering” their demands and would “soon find a solution”.

Another official saw in the government’s move a “change in stand”. “When the candidates had staged a protest in Salt Lake a month ago, there was no reconciliatory gesture from the government,” he said.

“It is clear that the government woke up to the plight of these candidates after it got to know about tomorrow’s scheduled meeting between Smriti and the protesters. The education minister (Partha Chatterjee) called the SSC chairman to his Assembly chamber today to discuss ways to resolve the issue,” the official added.

The HRD minister will meet some of the candidates at the BJP headquarters in Calcutta around 2pm, said Asim Sarkar, a party general secretary.

Leader of the Opposition, Surjya Kanta Mishra of the CPM, had met then education minister Bratya Basu over the issue and the Left parties had supported the movement of the candidates. “But this time, the situation is different as the BJP has taken up their cause. It is clear that the government doesn’t want the BJP to earn brownie points,” a source said.

Smriti is also scheduled to meet chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna tomorrow afternoon. Sources said the HRD minister was likely to broach the recruitment issue at the meeting. Education minister Chatterjee said he would also be present at the meeting.