The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teachers snub Dispur, firm on boycott

Guwahati, Feb. 27: High school teachers today rejected a plea by Dispur, deciding to boycott the matric exams scheduled to start on Wednesday.

With just four days remaining for the matriculation examinations, high school teachers and employees today turned down a government appeal to call off their boycott and decided to continue their agitation.

General secretary of the teachers’ association, Ashish Ranjan Dey, said after a meeting of the body’s steering committee today, “The government has failed to give us a firm commitment on fulfilling our demands. Everything is in the future tense. We have decided to go ahead with the boycott.”

The meeting, attended by office-bearers of the Assam High School Teachers’ Association and the All Assam Madhyamik Teachers and Employees’ Association, concluded that the government’s promises were “just old wine in an old bottle”.

He said, “We have now asked all our district units to go ahead with the strike as a response to the government’s betrayal”.

Education minister Pankaj Bora refuted the teachers’ allegation, saying this evening that the government has “shown its sincerity by agreeing to fulfil the demands. We hope that good sense will prevail and the teachers will call off their strike”.

“The exams will be held as per schedule,” he iterated, but skirted a query on whether Dispur was mulling harsh measures against the striking teachers in view of their rigid stance.

Over 3.5 lakh students, set to appear for the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and High Madarsa examinations, are passing sleepless nights over the impasse, as are their guardians.

Dispur has already come out with an appeal through newspapers with a point-by-point explanation on how the government has already agreed to meet the demands of the high school teachers and employees.

In fact, the government had held a meeting with the two associations on Monday, following which Dispur had claimed that the cloud over the exams had passed. The meeting, presided over by chief minister Tarun Gogoi, was attended by seven ministers.

Dey today said the “minutes of the meeting were forwarded by the government but there has been no official order till today on meeting our demands”.

The key demands of the two associations include provincialising 512 schools, clearing incremental benefits, paying arrears, filling up vacant posts and setting up a pay commission.

The government also constituted a six-member committee, to identify the schools that would be adopted. The committee has been asked to submit its report in time for the chief minister to make an announcement by July.

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