12 Jul, 2023 1:13p.m.

Odisha contractual teachers withdraw protest after minister's assurance


The state government is ready to discuss and fulfil the justified demands of contractual (niyojit) teachers, state parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary said on Tuesday as thousands of teachers on contract staged a massive protest in Patna demanding amendment to the provisions of the new recruitment policy and provide them also the status of state government employees.
The protesting teachers, however, withdrew their agitation after Choudhary announced in the legislative council that chief minister Nitish Kumar will personally meet their representatives to discuss their justified demands. Earlier, the BJP members created a ruckus on the issue and entered into the well of the House. Even the Left party legislators, who are part of the ruling Grand Alliance in the state, supported the teachers' demand.

Earlier in the day, the protesters, including the Central Teachers' Eligibility Test (CTET) qualified candidates, gathered at R-Block and Gardanibagh dharna site in support of their demands. Along with the secondary teachers, Bihar State Panchayat-Nagar Primary Teachers' Association, Parivartankari Primary Teachers' Association and other teachers' associations also organized a massive demonstration.

The protesters were preparing to gherao the residences of the MLAs as well as the assembly. Some of them were arrested at many places. Patna SSP Rajiv Mishra was monitoring the law and order situation.

Bihar Secondary Teachers' Association's general secretary Shatrughan Prasad Singh said the voice of the teachers has reached both the Houses of legislature. Around 4 lakh contractual teachers across the state are demanding state employees' status. Among them, around 60,000 are employed in secondary and higher secondary and 3.4 lakh in primary and middle schools.

"We have only one demand. All teachers should be given the status of state government employees. Also, teacher aspirants do not accept the new rules made by the government. CTET and BTET pass candidates will also have to pass the BPSC exam under the new rules. After this they can become a government employee. This is not acceptable. There is also a demand to increase the payscale. Till the employed teachers do not get the status of state employees, we will continue to hit the streets. For the time being, the movement has been withdrawn," Singh added.

In the legislative council, BJP's Nawal Kishore Yadav said niyojit teachers were being harassed by the state government and a day before their planned protest, they were picked up from their houses and sent behind bars. Leader of opposition in the council, Samrat Choudhary accused the government of "murdering" democracy.

Countering the BJP's allegations, minister Choudhary accused them of politicising the issue. "If you people are not satisfied with the fact that the CM will review the situation with the teachers' representatives, that means you have no sympathy for teachers," he said. Samrat said if CM was ready to review, then why the teachers had been arrested.

Later, Vijay Choudhary stated that the CM will review the new teachers' recruitment policy after the monsoon session. Training his gun at BJP, he said, "A BJP leader, who was the deputy CM and finance minister, had said no government can give the status of government employee to these teachers. How come all of a sudden this sympathy has come."

He even hit out at the BJP-led central government for not releasing funds for Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan for 2023-24 even after three months to pay salaries to the teachers. He said the state government has been taking up the burden and BJP leaders were shedding crocodile tears only.

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