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Govt drives wedge between striking Odisha teachers

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 24:

The Odisha government today finally succeeded in splitting the striking block grant teachers, who have been on an agitation for more than a month and half now.

block grant teachers strike

While the Odisha Vidyalaya Sikshak Mahasangh today announced the suspension of its agitation following an assurance from the state government to fulfill its demands, the other faction of the teachers’ agitation, the Block Grant Secondary Sikshak & Karmachari Association decided to continue with the agitation expressing discontent over the outcome of today’s inter-ministerial level committee meeting .

The state government gave the assurance to the striking teachers after an inter-ministerial level committee held a meeting with the striking teachers at the state secretariat here today.

“The agitation is suspended.  By evening, they will issue the notification on grants to schools hitherto not receiving grants. On the issue of conversion of block grant into grant, they said it will be effective from next academic year and will take two months to prepare. The agitation is suspended and teaching in schools will begin from today. Around 40,000 teachers of 4,000 schools had taken part in this agitation and about six lakh students were affected due to this agitation. Schools will open from today, teachers will join schools and impart lessons to the students,” Prakash Chandra Mohanty, convener Odisha Vidyalaya Sikshak Mahasangh, told reporters after the meeting here today.

On the other hand, the Block Grant Secondary Sikshak & Karmachari Association expressed its discontent over the outcome of the discussions with the state government saying neither will schools open nor will teachers impart lessons to students until their demands are fulfilled.

The Association will hold its earlier announced padayatra in Hinjili constituency on September 28 to highlight the plight of teachers while warning that it will intensify its agitation in the event of its demands not being fulfilled by the government.

“We haven’t taken any decision to call off our agitation yet. The agitation will continue. Teachers and employees will not attend schools till the government issues its notification. There is no question of entering into a dispute with the government. We had presented a principled demand before the government seeking equal wages for equal work and for ending the system of different types of teachers and different types of schools. We were told at today’s inter-ministerial committee meeting verbally that steps are being taken on this account. The matter will be taken up for consideration in 2016-17. We will surely call for an executive committee meeting on this matter. Under the circumstances, no schools will open nor will teachers and employees join schools,” said Prasant Mohapatra, general secretary, Block Grant Secondary Sikshak & Karmachari Association.