Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 9:
Thousands of school teachers of Odisha–affiliated to various associations– today took out a massive rally from Master Canteen square here as announced earlier to gherao Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence.
The rally is being taken out to protest against lack of government policy that decides the compensation structure of various types of teachers and the use of force against agitating Block Grant teachers on February 5.
While Block Grant teachers, Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association (OSSTA), ALSTA, Odisha Retired Teachers’ Association, Madrasa Teachers’ Association, Sanskrit Teachers’ Association are part of the rally, School Teachers’ Federation of Odisha (STFO) and Contractual Teachers’ Association are supporting it.
“We have taken out this rally to protest against the divide and rule attitude of government. They don’t have a policy framework to address the concerns of various groups of teachers. Even though the compensation should be same for equally qualified and experienced teachers, they receive different amounts based on the scheme they have been hired under,” Odisha Block Grant Teachers’ Association President Prasant Mohapata told reporters at Master Canteen square today.
“Besides, they used force on teachers when they demonstrated against this injustice. Many of them were arrested too. We are not going to back down. We have the support of various teacher groups. This agitation would continue till our demands are met,” he added.
The rally has been peaceful so far. Security has also been beefed up to avoid any untoward incident.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is on a tour of Chandbali – which essentially means the teachers would not be able to see the chief minister even if they reach Naveen Niwas.