Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 27:
Students of block grant schools and their worried parents across Odisha will certainly breathe a sigh of relief as striking block grant teachers withdrew their over a month and a half long stir today and decided to reopen schools from tomorrow following their ‘successful’ talks with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The striking teachers’ decision came after a delegation comprising of office bearers of Block Grant Secondary Sikshak & Karmachari Association met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at his residence this evening.
According to Prasant Mohapatra, general secretary of the Association, the state government has accepted some of their demands while promising to examine their demand for full grant.
The striking teachers have also decided to put on hold their plan to stage a massive rally tomorrow in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s constituency-Hinjilikatu.
Following notification issued by the state government based on the recommendation of the inter-ministerial committee to bring in 438 schools under the purview of the grant-in-aid (GIA) policy of the government with effect from October 1 on Thursday, more than 40,000 teachers of 4,000 schools owing allegiance to Odisha Vidyalaya Sikshak Mahasangh had withdrawn their stir.
However, another faction of the striking teachers owing allegiance to Block Grant Secondary Sikshak & Karmachari Association representing 2209 schools had threatened to continue with their agitation which included the staging of a massive rally at the Chief Minister’s constituency on September 28 as well as keep schools closed.
“We had received an invitation from the Chief Minister’s office for a discussion. Lack of clarity on the 2,209 schools in the inter-ministerial committee meeting was discussed during the talks. We discussed issues like annual increment, dearness allowance, pension and payment of ex-gratia to the family of an employee killed while on duty. The government agreed to provide these amenities and facilities taking into consideration the financial condition of the state. The government assured us that there will be no disparity in provision of grant-in-aid to the 2,209 schools. Whatever doubts we had have been cleared,” Mohapatra told reporters after their talks with the Chief Minister.
Mohapatra said the Chief Minister has asked the School and Mass Education Minister to issue a press release clarifying all these issues which were not clear during the inter-ministerial committee meeting.