With the 23-year-old BJD-led government allegedly ignoring demands of various protesting associations, resentment is brewing among the agitating principals, teachers, Sarpanchs, Samiti members and Anganwadi workers among others in Odisha.
These agitations are believed to be proved as bones in the neck of the BJD government in the coming 2024 general elections.
The ongoing strikes and agitations by principals, teachers, sarpanchs and samiti members are a clear indication that the pent up anger against the decades old BJD-led government has started to show up.
Because of the ongoing strike launched by primary teachers, teaching at schools across the state has hugely been affected for the last 12 days. Instead of fulfilling their demands, the government is allegedly applying divide and rule policy- the government has split the teachers’ association and is trying to pacify them.
Meanwhile, some associations have decided to put the strike on hold while the Primary School Teachers’ Association is digging in its heels.
“In the ministerial committee meeting, they (the government) didn’t give any assurance to fulfill our demands. So teachers are continuing their strike and will continue till the demands are not met,” said president of Primary School Teachers’ Association, Brahmananda Maharana.
On the other hand, the 662 category teachers’ association has been agitating for the last 224 days, urging the government to fulfill the demand of ‘equal grade, equal salary’.
“If our demands are not met, in the coming days, all the 662 colleges will be closed which will affect the education. For the consequences thereof, the education department and the Chief Minister will be responsible,” said Gagan Beura, general secretary, 662 Category Teachers’ Association.
As the government is paying no heed to their demands, these agitating teachers have decided to stage a massive demonstration in Bhubaneswar on Monday as a mark of their protest against the government.
Not only the teachers but also the Sarpanchs and Samiti members, even of the ruling party, are also against the government. While the Sarpanchs accused the government of reducing the people’s representatives to mere rubber stamps, the Samiti members have warned the government that they would resort to agitation if their demands for equal power and increase of allowances are not met.
“If the government won’t restore our powers, we will tender mass resignation,” said an agitating member of the State Sarpanch Federation.
Meanwhile, the BJP and the Congress are preparing to corner the government over these issues.
“We will demand for a discussion on the teachers’ issues in the Assembly,” said LoP Jaynarayan Mishra.
Similarly, OPCC Sarat Pattanayak said, “The Naveen Patnaik government knows nothing except vote politics. We fully support the teachers’ demands and we will raise their issues in the House.”
In his response, Finance Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha said, “To consider the demands of several associations, the government has formed an inter-ministerial committee. In the coming days, the government will discuss with them and take steps to address their issues.”