CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami sent a strong message to protesting government teachers and employees on Friday. Citing the financial constraints being faced by the State because of the ongoing rehabilitation works in districts affected by Cyclone Gaja and the drought-like situation due to the failure of monsoon in some other parts, the Chief Minister said: “The strike by government employees and teachers in this difficult situation is unfortunate and painful. I appeal to them to end the agitation and return to duty.”
Addressing a public meeting to mark the ‘Language Martyrs Day’, the Chief Minister alleged the employees had fallen prey to “false propaganda” of the opposition parties. “In fact, they are being instigated by Opposition parties, which have been making a false claim that the State government is refusing to meet the demands despite having sufficient funds. In reality, the government is facing financial constraints due to a cyclone on one hand and drought on the other.”
He said the government had to do justice to these people by extending assistance. While pointing out that 75 per cent of the revenue earned by the government is spent on salaries and pensions, and only the rest is used for developmental and welfare schemes, Palaniswami said his government “will not remain a mute spectator to the problems faced by the people.”
The government, Palaniswami said, has fulfilled many demands made by employees and teachers.
“Teachers who are protesting must think about the quantum of salary being drawn by their counterparts in the private sector. I am not finding faults... I am just presenting the facts... I request the teachers to extend cooperation to the government,” he added. “They are engaged in strike despite receiving a good hike in salary.”