Teachers strike paralyses 10k elementary schools across Odisha
Federation secretary Charulata Mohapatra said they were forced to launch the protest as the inter-ministerial committee, during its meeting , didn’t take any decision to fulfill their demands.
BHUBANESWAR: Nearly 10,000 primary and upper primary schools across Odisha came to a standstill on Friday as teachers went on mass leave and staged agitation seeking fulfillment of their demands including job regularisation and pay hikes. The teachers under the banner of the All Utkal Primary Teachers’ Federation boycotted their duty and staged protests in front of block offices across 20 districts.
Federation secretary Charulata Mohapatra said they were forced to launch the protest as the inter-ministerial committee, during its meeting held recently, didn’t take any decision to fulfill their demand.
“Agitations were held in more than 190 blocks, while schools remained closed in the entire Koraput district, four blocks of Puri district and parts of Ganjam, Nayagarh, and other coastal districts,” said Sunil Pradhan, a member of the federation.
He warned that all 56,000 primary and upper primary schools in the state will be shut down in the coming week if their demands are not met by the government till then. President of Odisha Primary Teacher Association Rajesh Mohanty said around 10,000 contractual teachers and 22,000 ex-cadre teachers along with thousands of regular teachers were part of the agitation on the first day.
Mohanty said abolition of contractual appointment as has been done in the case of high school teachers is their first demand. Besides, the inclusion of ex-cadre teachers in the elementary cadre, hike of grade pay from existing Rs 2,200 to Rs 4,200, formulation of service cadre for Art and PET teachers, filling up of vacancies and old pension system were among the major demands, he said.
The teachers alleged that while primary teachers in other states are receiving around Rs 35,400 at Rs 4,200 grade pay, in Odisha it is still Rs 23,600 at Rs 2,300 grade pay.“While pension provision has been implemented for elementary teachers in many states including Jharkhand, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Punjab, it is yet to be considered in Odisha,” said another agitating teacher.