Minister warns teachers of action

Bhubaneswar: Higher education minister Ananta Das on Friday asked the agitating school and college teachers to refrain from political activities after the protesters had warned to campaign against the ruling party in the Bijepur bypoll.

The teachers have been on an agitation since Thursday, protesting against the provision for compulsory submission of affidavits to be eligible for the grant-in-aid facility. They alleged that the affidavit would prevent teachers from staging any kind of protests in the future.

"Being government employees they should not openly announce their support for or against any political party. This should be considered as violation to service rules. We urge them to join duty for the interest of students," said the minister.

Das also slammed the agitators for criticising the chief minister's personal secretary V.K. Pandian and additional chief secretary G.V.P Sharma. "The teachers should focus on imparting education. The state has failed to produce IAS officers because of the teachers' inefficiency," he said sarcastically.

On the other hand, the teachers said the minister was taking a vindictive approach. "We have been on protest, demanding service conditions as we have been deprived of it. So, he has nothing to do with our code of conduct. Instead of making such statements, he should try to fulfil our demands. The minister must not threaten us directly or indirectly," said Odisha School College Teachers' and Employees United Forum convener Golak Nayak.

Thousands of teachers from schools and colleges from across the state had took out a foot march from Pipili to Bhubaneswar on Thursday and continued to demonstrate at Lower PMG for the second day. They have also threatened to boycott the upcoming matric and Plus Two examination duty. The state government had in October last year announced abolition of the block grant system, replacing it with the grant-in-aid for the teachers.

"The state government should be thankful to the teachers, who have been rendering service without adequate remuneration. Despite poor infrastructure, we have been imparting education. In these circumstances, the statement of the minister related to IAS officers from the state is laughable," said a teacher.


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