Mrunal Manmay Dash

The three-day-long agitation by lakhs of primary school teachers across Odisha was put on hold on Wednesday after the second round of talks between the teachers and the government.

As per reports, the Committee, headed by the Chief Secretary of Odisha will discuss the matter between December 16 and 20 to come out with a solution. The teachers' protest has been put on a hold till then.

Rajesh Mohanty, member of United Primary Teachers Association, said, “The steering committee of the primary school teachers association has 64 members and it was resolved that if a decision gets support of at least 75 percent, everyone will have to accept that.”

“Following the assurance from the government, a resolution was unanimously passed in the steering committee to postpone the protest until the government committee comes out with a solution on December 20,” he added.

However, the formation of the committee was termed as eyewash by the Opposition who alleged that the government did it only to pacify the teachers so that they don’t disrupt the Padampur bypoll.

Earlier, the teachers threatened to go on mass leave if their demands were not met. They had also threatened to boycott the Padampur bypoll by saying, “This time Padampur will see selection not election.”

Their demands included complete abolition of contractual system, six increments due for six years and salary as per Centre and implementation of the old pension scheme.

It can be mentioned here that the issue pertaining to teachers' protest echoed in the ongoing Winter Session of the Odisha Assembly. Opposition BJP and Congress members created a ruckus over the issue causing an impasse in the House.

BJP Chief Whip, Mohan Majhi said, “The Centre has already intimated to the State that they can accept the teachers’ demands and pay them as per the Central scale. But the State government has ignored all of this till now.”

BJD MLA Amara Prasad Satapathy said, “A secretary level talk has been undertaken on this topic. This is an issue which will take some time to resolve. We will definitely try to give the teachers respite.”

It has been three nights since lakhs of agitating primary school teachers from across Odisha have been enduring chilling- cold in Bhubaneswar to fulfill their demands. But the alleged indifference of the State government to the plight of the teachers had raised eyebrows from many quarters.

(Reported By Niranjan Reddy & Bibartan Panda, OTV)