Join duty or face action: Odisha govt to striking teachers

Odisha government Thursday told the block grant school and college teachers who are on indefinite strike since August 16 to join duty.

Terming the agitation by the teachers as "Not justified", the state government said that the teachers remaining absent from schools without permission, would face action.

The Department of School and Mass Education (S&ME) directed all District Education Officers (DEOs) and Block Education Officers (BEOs) to ensure that the agitating teachers, who have remained absent without permission would not get salary for the days of absence.

They are demanding hike in grade pay and other service conditions as being availed by the teachers in government schools, regular grant-in-aid and abolition of block grant system of payment

In separate letters to all the DEOs and BEOs, S&ME principal secretary, PK Mohapatra has directed them to check attendance of all teachers/junior teachers/contractual teachers from September 6 and ensure that those who are absent without permission do not get salary for the days of absence.

In the case of contractual teachers, Mohapatra has told the the DEOs and BEOs "to treat their unauthorised absence as a reason for not renewing the annual contract due in March next and prior to that, they may take action to disengage them after following due procedure".

The block education authorities have also been asked to make local arrangements for smooth functioning of schools.

The S&ME Department said that steps have already been taken for consideration of the demands and hence the agitation is "not justified".

Odisha's School and Mass Education minister Badri Narayan Patra said: "We shall be holding an inter-ministerial committee meeting Thursday to resolve the issue. The teachers should return to schools."

Meanwhile, Primary Odisha BEd Elementary Teachers Association, Odisha Elementary School Teachers Association, Odisha Sikshya Sahayak Association have also extended their support to the agitation.

The teachers issue was also raised in the Odisha Assembly where opposition members asked the state government to hold discussion with the agitators and bring back normalcy in schools and colleges.

Odisha School College Teachers and Employees United Forum convenor Golak Nayak said the agitators have decided to "lock" 4,000 schools and 1500 colleges from Thursday.

Nayak warned they would further intensify the agitation and take it to village level if their demands are not fulfilled.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)