Uproar in BMC over lack of aid for schools

450 teachers are drawing low salaries at unaided private schools for past 15 years

Corporators across party lines created an uproar in Wednesday’s standing committee meeting of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and demanded financial help for certain unaided private schools in the city.

The teachers of these schools have been protesting at Azad Maidan for the past three days and demanding the BMC to grant aid to their schools so that they can receive a hike in their salaries. Despite assurances, the BMC has not been able to come out with a policy for unaided private schools yet.

Apart from its own schools, the civic body used to extend aid to certain needy schools across the city. A total of 63 private schools, which have been functioning for years now, have demanded aid as they do not have necessary funds to sustain themselves any longer. There are around 450 teachers who have been working at these unaided private schools for the past 15 years. They are paid a salary of only ₹4,000 to ₹5,000 a month. Since the schools are unaided, they do not have enough funds to pay higher salaries to teachers.

‘Set cut-off date’

Mangesh Satamkar, Sena corproator and chairman of the education committee, said, “The municipal commissioner has not even bothered to meet the teachers, forget considering their demands. In villages, farmers commit suicides owing to mounting debt. Do we also want our teachers to be driven to suicide? How are they supposed to support themselves with this salary, let alone their family?”

Mr. Satamkar has demanded in the past that schools that have been in operation for many years be given aid and a cut-off date be set. He said following the cut-off date, schools will no longer be given aid considering the BMC’s dwindling revenues. In Wednesday’s standing committee meeting, Mr. Satamkar demanded an adjournment over the issue. He also threatened to protest outside the municipal commissioner’s office if the issue is not resolved in two days. His demand was supported by all corporators at the meeting.

Samajwadi Party leader Rais Shaikh said, “In the past, we have demanded that a no-confidence motion be moved against the municipal commissioner but the ruling party did not support us. We had even declared support for the motion. But ruling party does not have the courage to go ahead with it.” Nationalist Congress Party leader Rakhi Jadhav also blamed the ruling party . She said, “It is only because the ruling party is weak that the BMC administration takes us for granted.”

However, Sena corporator Vishakha Raut defended the party’s actions. She said, “The general assembly has already given its approval to extend the grant to these schools. The proposal is still pending with the municipal commissioner.”

The standing committee meeting was adjourned and all members demanded a meeting with the mayor and the municipal commissioner. The commissioner later met them and assured that a decision would be taken on the issue within two days.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 2:40:06 AM |

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