Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 26:
In a strongly worded message, Odisha School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra on Friday warned striking block grant teachers of appropriate action on Monday if they fail to open schools by Saturday.
In a scarcely veiled threat, the Minister said if the striking teachers fail to open schools, the government would reconsider continuance of grant-in-aid to them and take stern action on the teachers.
“The School Teachers’ Federation of Odisha (STFO) and other organizations had promised the Chief Minister during their meeting with him that they will teach students on holidays and make up for the loss the students have suffered. We are hopeful that they will keep their commitments. We have goodwill towards the teachers. But that doesn’t mean that we can leave the fate of the students hanging in their hands for an indefinite period. We will verify which ones (schools) have reported open by Saturday. Otherwise, action will be taken as deemed fit,” said School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra speaking to reporters here.
Late on Thursday evening, the state government had issued a notification bringing in 399 high schools and 39 Madhyama schools under the purview of the grant in aid (GIA) policy as per the decision of the inter-ministerial committee.
The decision, which will come into effect from October 1 this year, will benefit a total of 5,074 teachers and employees in the state. These schools will get 40% grants and the government will incur an additional expenditure of Rs 25 cror,e Mishra informed.
While the STFO had announced on Thursday 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 Thursday’s inter-ministerial level committee meeting.
The Association had 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 had announced on Thursday that it 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.