Mrunal Manmay Dash

The primary school teachers of Odisha under the banner of United Primary Teachers’ Federation called off their protest on Wednesday while announcing noncooperation in several government functions.

After the local Police denied them permission to hold protest in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday, the steering committee of the Federation assembled at the Exhibition Ground in the Smart City and decided to call off the protest.

However, they decided not to extend cooperation in several government works until their demands are not fulfilled.

As per the primary teachers, they will also boycott the dress-code until then citing that the government is not paying them a penny for the uniform.

They alleged that they have been managing the mid-day meals in the school by themselves despite not receiving any money for the same of the past six months. “We have decided not to cook any mid-day-meal on our own until the government releases funds for the same,” said Ranjan Mohanty, a member of the federation's steering committee.

“We have tried to stage a protest in a democratic way. But the administration denied us our rights at the last minute. There are teachers who left for Bhubaneswar from far-away places and were not aware of the denial of permission. So we assembled at the exhibition ground to discuss the future course of action,” said Mohanty.

“We tried to cooperate with the government all the time. Even during Covid, we toiled hard putting our lives at risk. But not anymore. If the government does not pay heed to our demands, we will stop cooperating with the government as well,” he added.

Bhubaneswar Police had denied permission to the Federation for holding a dharna citing traffic congestion. The police had written a letter in this regard to the United Primary Teachers Federation.

Notably, more than 1.5 lakh teachers from across the State had planned to stage a dharna at Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday to press for their 3-point charter of demands which includes - abolishment of contractual appointment system in primary schools, inclusion in old pension scheme and salary as per grade pay.

(Reported By Alok Mohanty, OTV)