Monday, 30th October 2017

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Teachers block road over pay

More than 3,000 primary schoolteachers squatted on the road leaving no space for vehicles to move

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 7.11.19, 2:53 AM
  • Updated 7.11.19, 2:53 AM
  • 2 mins read
Primary schoolteachers block the Baghajatin crossing on Raja SC Mullick Road on Wednesday Gautam Bose

Primary schoolteachers demanding pay hike blocked the Baghajatin crossing on Raja SC Mullick Road for six hours on Wednesday, disrupting traffic in south Calcutta for a large part of the day.

People, including students, had a tough time as more than 3,000 primary schoolteachers squatted on the road leaving no space for vehicles to move. A huge police contingent kept guard and ensured they did not march towards education minister Partha Chatterjee’s home, which they initially wanted to.

Police diverted vehicles at multiple points following the blockade in the middle of the road between Garia and Jadavpur.

The stretch connects the city’s southern fringes to south Calcutta on the one hand and joins Raja SC Mullick Road with Naktala and Ranikuthi on NSC Bose Road on the other.

Students of south Calcutta schools who live on the outskirts had to make a detour through the Bypass to reach home.

“My niece studies in a school at Ballygunge. She could not return home to Baghajatin directly... she made a detour through the Bypass,” a resident of Park Circus said.

Vehicles moving from the southern outskirts towards Jadavpur were either diverted from the Bypass via Patuli or through Naktala and Tollygunge. Vehicles headed south from Ballygunge were diverted through Southern Avenue and Prince Anwar Shah connector from the Jadavpur police station crossing.

The teachers started the blockade around noon and lifted it after 6pm, only to shift to a nearby ground.

One of the main demands of the teachers of state-aided primary schools was to raise their grade pay component to Rs 4,200 a month from the existing Rs 3,600 — a hike that would push up their monthly salary to close to Rs 40,000 from around Rs 35,000 at the time of retirement.

The government had in July announced to increase the grade pay component from Rs 2,600 to Rs 3,600 a month for trained teachers.

For untrained teachers, the grade pay component was raised to Rs 2,900 a month from Rs 2,300.

The protesting teachers, some of who were on an indefinite hunger strike in Salt Lake in July, were opposed to

the offer but had called off the agitation after the hike, hoping their demand would be met later.

The protesting teachers on Wednesday said their salaries had increased by only Rs 500 to Rs 700 a month after their grade pay component was revised in July.

The salaries of state-aided schoolteachers have various components, including basic, dearness allowance and grade pay component.

The pay scale of teachers has been enhanced over the years in most states. The grade pay component of primary teachers in many states is Rs 4,200 a month, one of the protesting teachers said.