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Dispur brushes off speech plan

Tarun Gogoi

Guwahati, Sept. 4: The Tarun Gogoi government today obliquely opposed the Centre’s plan to telecast live Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on Teacher’s Day in schools across the country via television, radio and webcast.

A communiqué issued by Dispur this afternoon clarified that the telecast of the Prime Minister’s address to children in schools was not mandatory.

It stated that the directive had been issued to all deputy commissioners, inspectors of schools and district elementary education officers of the state by S.C. Das, additional chief secretary of the education department.

The Union human resource development ministry has planned to telecast Modi’s speech and his subsequent interaction with children across the country over television and webcast. According to the plan, students would stay back in schools till 5pm tomorrow to hear the address. The ministry, after facing criticism from the Opposition parties, has maintained that attendance is not mandatory.

“Classes in all government schools in the state are over between 1.30pm and 2pm every day. Under normal circumstances, if students have to listen to Modi’s speech they will have to wait for more than an hour in their schools. But on Teacher’s Day, schools are over earlier than usual as teachers have to attend the state government functions held in all district headquarters to felicitate sincere teachers. So timing will be a problem for listening to Modi’s speech. But if schools can manage the time, the government has no objection. But we do not want to force students and teachers,” an Assam government official told The Telegraph.

The state BJP sharply reacted to the communiqué.

Party spokesperson Adip Phukan said the Gogoi government’s opposition was to cover up the poor state-of-affairs in the schools in the state. "Many schools do not have electricity and proper infrastructure to arrange live telecast of the Prime Minister's speech,” he said.

The AGP has accused the BJP of politicising Teacher’s Day.


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