Staff Reporter

Seek regularisation of services; police have a tough time to control agitators

BUBANESWAR: Over 10,000 contract teachers staged demonstration in front of the Orissa Legislative Assembly demanding regularisation of their jobs here on Wednesday.

The police had a tough time to control the teachers who tried to break cordons near the residence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and on the Mahatma Gandhi Road.

Hundreds of Siksha Sahayaks were stopped near the Forest Park area as they insisted on entering Chief Minister's residence to air their grievances. They were seen scuffling with police personnel who had blocked their march.

"While Orissa needs 1,52,145 regular teachers for its 55,403 primary and secondary schools, the State Government is managing with only 74,595. About 51,398 teacher posts are lying vacant. However, the government has appointed 55,000 contract teachers who get Rs. 2000 per month," Bhabakrushna Mohanty, President of Orissa Siksha Sahayak Association (OSSA), said.

Ridiculing that the daily wages fixed by the State Government for skilled labour was much higher than the remuneration paid to them, Mr. Mohanty demanded jobs of all siksha sahayaks be made permanent in order to streamline primary education in the State.

`Meagre salary'

Similarly, thousands of teachers appointed under Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) demanded their jobs also be upgraded as of normal teachers when EGS centres were being converted into primary schools.

"We are toiling hard with a meagre monthly salary of Rs. 1000. Owing to our sincere and hard work, students' strength of EGS centres has gone up and drop out of students has sharply declined. Instead of being rewarded, we are facing termination," said Jayanti Lal Sahu, president of State EGS Teachers' Mahasangh (SETM).

On contrary government of Chhatisgarh, Karnatak, Jharkhand, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Tripura facilitated the EGS teachers with training before involving them in their education system, he said.

The Orissa government should take a cue from other state governments and make their job regularised, Mr. Sahu said.

Novel protest

The contract teachers were followed by Physical Training Teachers (PET), who entered the demonstration area with brooms in their hands. They were demanding that government supply adequate playing instruments and make playing as a compulsory subject in every school. The PETs swept the road.