Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 6:
A day after clashing with cops while on their way to gherao Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s residence in Odisha capital, Block Grant teachers today gheraoed official residences of seven ministers here demanding fulfilment of their nine-point charter of demands.
The teachers gheraoed the residence of ministers– Finance Minister Pradeep Amat, Employment, Technical Education & Training Minister Sanjay Kumar Das Burma, School & Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Energy & Information Technology Minister Pranab Prakash Das, Panchayati Raj & Law Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh and Information & Public Relations Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.
All these ministers are part of the inter-ministerial committee that had been tasked with finding a solution to the Block Grant teachers’ issues.
Commissionerate police has arrested 38 teachers and forwarded them to court in connection with the incident.
“This government doesn’t have a specific policy to address our full grant-in-aid demand. Our salaries are too low and it does not justify the hard work we put in to shape the next generation of the state. We have been demanding justice since past 17 years without any luck,” said Binay Dash, a Block Grant teacher.
“After the recent 48-day long protest wherein the schools were locked down completely, the government had formed an inter-ministerial committee to address our concerns. Chief Minister himself had asked the committee to come up with a solution within two months. However, after four long months, the committee proposed a 20 percent salary hike instead of full grant-in-aid. We cannot accept this. We would further intensify our protests by conducting a rally in Hinjli (Naveen Patnaik’s constituency) and boycott the matric examinations, should there be a need,” he added.
Notably, about 40,000 teachers and staff of 2667 Block Grant high schools have been insisting that they qualify the norms for government take over and demanding full grant-in-aid as per ‘Grant-in-aid Order, 1994’.