Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 23:
Odisha School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra today assured to look into the demands of block grant secondary school teachers and urged them to go back to the schools.
“We continue to work towards offering them better amenities and accommodate more of their demands. I spoke to the Secretary and other officials on this context recently. We have added 399 new schools to the grant-in-aid fold. Many Sanskrit tolls are included in this list. We are also re-examining the case of pending schools before taking it to the cabinet. I expect that the teachers will do their part and go back to the schools,” said Odisha School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra.
“The inter-ministerial committee has already considered many of their demands that could be fulfilled. There has been a 50 percent enhancement. We are now working towards fulfilling their demand on infrastructure development at block grant schools. The government is doing its best within its financial constraints,” he added.
The teachers, however, rejected the minister’s suggestion and demanded immediate action instead of assurances.
“The Chief Minister of the state gave us written assurance seven times between 2007 and 2012 apart from announcing on the floor of the House on December 7, 2012 that the government will provide equal pay for equal work and full grant-in-aid. However, those assurances are yet to be fulfilled. We don’t want assurances anymore. We want action,” said Secretary of the Association Prashant Mohapatra.
“We demand same benefits as other government school employees. We have been protesting demanding equal pay for equal work, implementation of grade pay, dearness allowance, regular increment, abolition of block grant system, provision of full grant-in-aid, permanent appointment, government takeover of all private schools among others,” he added.
The teachers have been demonstrating in Lower PMG of Bhubaneswar demanding fulfilment of their nine point charter of demands. According to the association, the demonstration is being supported by teachers and employees of 2608 block grant high schools.
It may be mentioned here that Odisha Government on July 26 announced 25% increase in basic salary of block grant school teachers as per the Grant-In-Aid provision. The hike was implemented retrospectively from June 1, 2016. The move, however, was criticized by block grant teachers who claimed that it was a scrupulous design by the government to avoid a government takeover of the schools.