In a show of solidarity, 30 underpaid resource teachers and special educators from across the state came together to launch a three-day agitation in Dhanbad in support of their seven-point charter of demand including revision of their salary.
The agitation which began at Randhir Verma Chowk near the district headquarters today with a silent dharna will be followed by a cleanliness and sanitation drive at the district education department office tomorrow and will conclude on Thursday with polishing of shoes to pedestrians.
The protestors who were holding banners bearing slogans like divyango ko samman chahiye hamen bhi vetanmaan chaahiye; samavesi shiksha safal prayas, pet hai bhukhi lav par pyaas; mehnat karte hain ham puri, hamen chahte hain puri mazdoori; divyang niyamit darkar, hamen chahiye poora adhikar; dil men iman bharo, hamen vetanman karo were also demanding PF and gratuity deduction, medical and insurance benefit, earned leave provision, fund on compassionate ground and service regularization.
Talking to The Telegraph Online today on the sidelines of the silent dharna, Basant Kumar, a special educator of Giridih-based resource centre for the physically challenged and mentally retarded students, said, “I joined service in Girdih in 2012 for a monthly payment of Rs 13,000 but in nine years my salary increased by only Rs 2,700 to reach at Rs 15700”. Similar is the situation of all 300 resource teachers and special educators working at different resource centres. While the salary of Block Programmer who also joined along with us under the inclusive education programme has doubled, we are forced to take a lower salary which makes it very difficult to make ends meet and perform our duties.”
“Out of six working days in a week we are required to visit the home of the students besides conducting classes in school and resource centres for two days each but with a meagre salary of around Rs 15,700 a month, we hardly manage to meet our travel expenses due to rising price of fuel," said Kumar.
Echoing similar sentiments, Sachin Kumar, a physiotherapist of Bokaro, who is also participating in the agitation, along with other resource teachers, said, “Following the pandemic, the resource centres were shut down forcing us to impart training through smart phones and laptops which involve extra costs but despite our repeated demand no attention has been paid towards our plight.”
Punam Sinha, a resource teacher of Dhanbad, said “I joined service in 2010 at a salary of Rs 10,000 and presently getting only Rs 15,700 which is too meagre to manage the educational expenses of my two college going sons. We are participating in the agitation to draw the attention of the government to our pitiable condition.”