Teacher ire at block level

Teachers on Tuesday started staging protests in front of the block grant schools across the state.

By ANWESHA AMBALY
  • Published 12.09.18
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PROTEST PATH: Teachers take out a rally in front of the Assembly in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: Teachers on Tuesday started staging protests in front of the block grant schools across the state.

Since the past one week, thousands of teachers under the banner of Odisha School College Teachers and Employees' United Forum have been on cease work.

They also observed a black day in support of their demands on September 5.

From Tuesday, the teachers will protest in groups at the block levels.

They will also organise rallies at panchayat level from September 17 if their demands are not met.

The Speaker on Tuesday convened an all-party meeting following repeated demands from the Opposition parties, which had been accusing the government of indifference. Following this, the Speaker directed the school and mass education minister to resolve the issue at the earliest.

School and mass education minister Badri Narayan Patra said the state government was open to discussions, while the protesters alleged that the government was yet to call them for a meeting.

"The minister's assurances are only for media consumption. He has never invited us for a discussion," said forum convener Golak Nayak.

The teachers have been staging protest since August 16 to press for their demands of implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations and the new grant-in-aid system introduced in October last year.

The cease work has hampered educational activities in more than 6,500 schools and colleges across the state.#The state government in September 2017 had abolished the block grant system and replaced it with grant-in-aid system following a 17-day dharna by the teachers - which was questioned by the Supreme Court.

The state government, in its affidavit, said that according to its new grant-in-aid policy, the higher education and the school and mass education departments would sustain financial burden of Rs 514 crore and Rs 453 crore, respectively.

The apex court later disposed of the case and recognised the state government's policy. However, it said those, who were not satisfied with the policy, could approach the appropriate forum.

The teachers have been demanding withdrawal of the "controversial" affidavit clau-se prescribed in the policy.

The government, however, refused to withdraw the clause, in which the teachers and employees have to declare that they will not move to court or stage protest against the government in future.

The minister on Tuesday appealed to the protesters to end the strike and assured them of taking steps to resolve their issues.

"We will abide by the law and take a decision very short," he said.