Block grant teachers to intensify agitation

Bhubaneswar: The protesting teachers of black grant schools and colleges Wednesday threatened to intensify their ongoing agitation as a meeting with the state government remained inconclusive.

The teachers and other employees under the banner of All Odisha School College Teachers’ and Employees’ United Forum are on an indefinite strike since August 16 last.
As per the direction given by Assembly Speaker PK Amat to resolve the issues of block grant teachers, the inter-ministerial committee held a meeting with the agitating teachers under the chairmanship of Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera at the Secretariat here. However, the meeting remained inconclusive as government sought three months time to examine the demands of the teachers, who wanted to resolve the issues within a week.
Convenor of the forum Pabitra Mahala said, “Today’s meeting failed to arrive at a consensus. The Chief Secretary had earlier held a meeting with us. Today we found that the state government has taken a ‘U-turn’. The government was pressurising us to enforce the Grant In-Aid (GIA) till 2017 which we rejected.”
“The state government today sought three months time for formation of a technical committee to examine our demands. We made a suggestion to resolve the issues within a week, but the government didn’t agree. This strike will be intensified further,” he maintained.
Another leader of the forum Golak Nayak said they are demanding notional GIA condition and the state government had earlier agreed to it, excluding the arrear part. “But, today the state government took a U-turn and said pension and service conditions will not be given forcing us to accept the 2017 GIA. But, we are not going to accept it.”
Stating this strike will continue, he also said at present the teachers are agitating in various blocks and soon it would be taken to panchayat level. In his reaction, the finance minister said, “Government is ready to resolve the issues of teachers and fulfill their demands based on the Supreme Court’s order. But the teachers are not bringing coherence in their demands with the Supreme Court order. They seek a new GIA order repealing the old one. We want to form a technical committee comprising the representatives of the teachers to resolve their other demands.”
School and Mass Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra, who also attendeed the meeting, said, “Amendment to the GIA 2017 was made in 2018 in accordance with the Supreme Court order. We have requested the school and college teachers to accept it. They are demanding further service conditions, social security measures and pension among others. So we proposed for a discussion on these matters with an expert committee and sought three months time.”

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