Odisha Govt to disengage agitating school teachers


Bhubaneswar, September 6, 2018: The Odisha Government has decided to disengage block grant school teachers staging demonstration against the State Government at Lower PMG here even as the Assembly witnessed adjournment after opposition Congress and BJP created ruckus over the striking teachers’ demands on Thursday.

For the last 22 days since August 16, the block grant school and college teachers had started a dharna at the Lower PMG here under the banner of Odisha School College Teachers’ and Employees’ United Forum (OSCTEUF), a forum of school and college teachers unions.

As the agitating teachers decided to gherao the Assembly today, the School and Mass Education Department has decided to cut salary of junior teachers and contract teachers who will participate in protest rally against the Government. Their contract may also not be renewed from next year.

School and Mass Education Department Principal Secretary PK Mohapatra on Wednesday asked all the District Education Officers and Block Education Officers to take necessary steps to check the attendance of all teachers/junior teachers, including contractual from Thursday and ensure that teachers who have remained absent without permission and without proper ground do not get the salary for the days they remain absent.

“Further, in case of contractual teachers, unauthorized absence could be treated as a reason for not renewing the annual contract due in next March and even prior to that, authorities may take action to disengage them after following due procedure,” Mohapatra said in a letter to DEOs and BEOs.

The Secretary has also asked the BEOs to make local arrangement for smooth functioning of the schools during the period.

Around 60,000 teachers of 5,500 schools and colleges observed Teachers’ Day on Wednesday as a ‘black day’ to press for the fulfilment of their demands of better pay and service benefits.

The striking teachers, who are joining the protest rally by availing themselves of leaves in batches, belong to three different categories. They get fixed monthly remuneration of Rs 17,200, Rs 18,300 and Rs 22,000 in the form of a partial Government assistance called ‘block grant’.

The teachers have been demanding the abolition of the block grant system and its replacement with 100 per cent ‘grants-in-aid’, besides benefits such as periodic increment, promotion and pension. If Government admits the demands, this will increase their monthly pay packet to between Rs 52,000 and Rs 58,000, depending on their years of service.

Odisha School and College Teachers’ and Employees United Forum convenor Pabitra Mahala said they will demonstrate in front of the houses of all 147 MLAs today.

“From September 7, at least two teachers from each institution will protest in Bhubaneswar. From September 10, the rest of the teachers will stage demonstrations in front of their respective block offices,” said Mahala.

Meanwhile, School and Mass Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra urged the teachers to shun the path of agitation.

“The Government is considering their demands. An inter-ministerial committee will meet today for the purpose,” said the Minister.

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