Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 5:
Block Grant teachers of Odisha today threatened to boycott answer paper evaluation of recently concluded High School Certificate (HSC) examination unless their demands of abolition of block grant system and implementation of full grant-in-aid are implemented.
The teachers under the banner of School Teachers Federation of Odisha (STFO) today organised a state-wide demonstration demanding full grant-in-aid on the occasion of birth centenary of Biju Patnaik today.
While the demonstrations were peaceful in most places, teachers blocked the roads at places in Bhadrak and Nayagarh leading to huge inconvenience for other commuters. In Bhubaneswar, a large rally was taken out by the teachers and in Puri, the teachers agitated in front of the Biju Patnaik statue.
“We have been demanding abolition of block grant system since past 22 years now. We want full grant-in-aid for these schools. Besides, the government has to provide grant-in-aid to other schools of the state. Even though we have said it to the governments in every possible way and thousands of times, they simply do not care. Now, we don’t have any better choice but to come to the street and agitate as provided in a democracy,” said Convenor of STFO Prakash Chandra Mohanty.
“Today, it is the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik. Unfortunately, his son Naveen Patnaik has not been able to fulfil his dream on elevating the standard of education and teachers in the state even after spending 15 years in power. However, he goes around selling Biju Babu’s dream to hold on to power and cheat the people of the state. That is the reason, we chose this day to remind people and the government the issues the teachers are going through,” he added.
Notably, the teachers have been agitating since months demanding block grant abolition and full grant-in-aid. They had even threatened to boycott the HSC examination; however, they relented after the Orissa High Court asked them to.
The teachers, however, had worn black badges as a mark of protest during the examination and announced that they would boycott answer paper evaluation, should the government fail to address the concern by March 10.