Staff Reporter

Chief Minister has a tough time coming out of his residence

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had a tough time to come out of his residence on Monday morning as agitating contract teachers of Government High Schools blocked the main road in front of Biju Patnaik Airport.

Hundreds of Government teachers have been holding agitation along Mahatma Gandhi Marg in front of State Assembly for last six days. In the morning, the teachers evolved innovative idea to dodge the police manning important places around Chief Minister’s residence.

About 200 teachers mostly women started arriving near prohibited zone in groups. At about 9 am, they suddenly regrouped and blocked the road. Police were seemingly unaware of the event. Since majority of the agitators were women, police could not take action. Police took time to bring lady constables to manage the situation.

In the meantime, a scuffle ensued. About 20 teachers, including four women, were injured. Orissa Government High School Contract Teachers’ Association (OGHTA) claimed that its 300 members were taken away by police. After a portion of the road was cleared, Mr. Patnaik’s cavalcade made its way out of the ‘troubled zone.’

As the news of arrest of hundreds of teachers reached the main camp at Mahatma Gandhi Marg, more than 1000 teachers staged a rasta roko. CPI Legislator N. Narayan Reddy and SUCI MLA Sambhunath Nayak addressed the agitated teachers and extended their support to their cause. OGHTA has been demanding that the Government should make their job secure declaring a concrete action plan including regular salary. “We will not be bogged down by the repressive action of police. If situation continues, we will be compelled to boycott forthcoming annual matriculation examination beginning from March 26,” OGHTA Secretary Manoj Lenka threatened.

About 3000 teachers have abstained from their duties protesting the “uncertainties” in their service code.