Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 21:
The retrenched high school contract teachers of Odisha today resorted to a novel way of protest here to draw the state government’s attention.
With the agitation entering its eighth day today, the teachers conducted yagna at the Lower PMG here despite the overcast condition followed by intermittent downpour till forenoon. Here goes the twist: the striking teachers were not invoking any God to fulfil their wishes. Instead, they performed the yagna rituals in front of the framed photographs of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra to press for their demand.
“We performed the yagna to appease the chief minister and School and Mass Education minister so that they listen to our grievances. We have been striking since the beginning of second week of December as the government has not met the assurance,” an agitating contract teacher said.
Notably, the high school contract teachers have been agitating at the Lower PMG here protesting against their retrenchment and state government’s failure to reappoint them in different high schools by the end of second week of this month despite assurances from the School and Mass Education Minister.
The state government had cancelled appointment of nearly 4, 000 contractual teachers’ appointed after June 11 this year following High Court orders and the contractual teachers were on a stir demanding reinstatement.
However, the Odisha Administrative Tribunal (OAT) verdict on last Thursday came as a reprieve for the disengaged teachers. The Tribunal directed the state government to issue a revised notification with relaxed age norms in the case pertaining to appointment of contract teachers. Furthermore, the Tribunal directed the state government to issue an amended notification to give chance to left out candidates and complete the recruitment process within two months.
The high school contract teachers again launched a stir on December 14 after the government failed to keep its assurance to resolve the issue.