Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 18:
More than 40,000 school teachers from 4,000 schools of the state will begin an indefinite agitation in front of the Odisha Assembly here tomorrow demanding implementation of Grant-in-aid order of 1994 to all eligible block grant schools.
The teachers have been agitating since August 10 demanding government aid to the block grant schools rendering more than 4000 schools non-functional.
“We demand implementation of Grant-in-aid Order of 1994 to the block grant schools with immediate effect. Leaders and teachers of all the teachers’ associations of the state starting from Middle English schools to the Secondary School Teachers Associations will come to Bhubaneswar tomorrow to demonstrate in front of the Assembly,” said Prakash Chandra Mohanty, convener of Odisha Vidyalaya Sikshak Mahasangh.
“The protest will go on round the clock and if the government doesn’t give in to our demands by August 20, we will demonstrate in front of the houses of the MLA,” Mohanty warned.
The state government, however, is unsure of its future course of action. School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra today reiterated what he has been saying on the issue for the past eight days.
“The state government is trying to take a decision as per the resource available to it. We have been discussing the matter in high level meetings. There are many related issues to it. There are quite a few organisations that have come to protest. We have discussed the issue with the finance minister and will take a call as per the chief minister’s directives,” said Mishra.
It may be noted that political parties, especially the BJP has assured the agitating block grant teachers to take up their issue in monsoon session of the assembly.
“The teachers’ association has been making this genuine demand since a long time now. The government has been making false promises to them time and again. They had recently aksed for 15 days’ time to fulfill the demands, but they again went back on their words. We are going to raise this in the assembly. Had it been notified to us earlier, we would have done a proper question and discussion, but now we will raise it in the zero hour,” said BJP MLA Dillip Ray in a media briefing last week.