Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 10:
With block grant schools remaining closed in the state for a month, the future of five lakh students studying in these schools remains stuck between the rigid stands taken by the Odisha government and the striking teachers.
While the state government is not lending a sympathetic ear to the demands of the striking teachers, the teachers remain adamant on their demands.
On the other hand, School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra has claimed that the government is negotiating with the teachers’ association and a solution will soon be found. Admitting the fact that studies of the students have been affected, the Minister blamed the adamant stand of the teachers for it. He said they have been repeatedly requested to withdraw their agitation and return to schools and assured that their demands will be fulfilled. However, the teachers’ association is paying no heed to it, he added.
The Minister reiterated that only block grant high school teachers are on agitation and teachers of other categories have returned to their schools. It has been announced to provide grants to 399 category schools. Provision of grants to Sanskrit tolls too is under consideration. Therefore, teachers should return to the schools and impart lessons to the pupils, informed Minister Mishra.
The teachers’ association, however, has contradicted the Minister’s claim and said that teachers of the 916 block grant upper primary schools are very much participating in the agitation.
However, the Minister claimed that teachers of these schools have withdrawn from the agitation. Therefore teaching has been regularized in these schools, the Minister informed.
“The government is telling lies and is trying to hoodwink teachers. There is no question of withdrawing our agitation this time till our demands are fulfilled. The government is playing with the future of five lakh students. We demand immediate fulfillment of our demands,” said Prakash Chandra Mohanty chief convener of Odisha School Teachers’ Federation (OSTF).
Similarly, Prashant Kumar Mohapatra general secretary Block Grant High School Teachers’ and Employees’ Federation said: “We won’t bend before the government’s adamant stand. We have nothing to say let them take whatever action they deem fit. The High Court verdict in this case too has been deferred to September 16. If the government fails to fulfill our demands by 10th of this month we will stage demonstrations in front of all district collectorates on 11th, in front of block offices on 14th and in front of all panchayat offices on 16th.”