Himansu Shekhar Rout

Ahead of the elections, the Odisha cabinet has been approving various proposals on remunerations, salaries, cadre restructuring, and promotion and post-retirement benefits of staff in various departments 

Despite all this, employees of the education and other departments are not happy and a score of them have come out on the streets in Bhubaneswar to stage protests over their demands.  

The Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association (OSSTA) on Sunday strongly opposed the Odisha Cabinet's decision to give Rs 6 lakh to each teacher and Rs 4 lakh to each non-teaching staff of newly-aided High Schools and newly aided Sanskrit Tolls as a one-time retirement benefit.
Besides, Rs 5 lakh will be provided to each teacher of newly-aided UP (ME) Schools and newly-aided Madrasas on superannuation after the age of 60. 

Politics has warmed up over the issue. 

Akshaya Kumar Mishra, president of OSSTA had earlier said, “We outright reject the one-time lump sum amount of Rs 6 lakh to each teacher and Rs 4 lakh to each non-teaching employee on superannuation. We strongly condemn and oppose such an abominable system.” He demanded a monthly pension for them.

Similarly, retired Army soldiers affiliated with Odisha Veteran Soldiers’ Association took to the streets on Lower PMG Square by organizing a massive rally on Sunday. They demanded five acres of land and scope of jobs for them according to their qualifications after retirement and a building for the association in each district.  

Secretary of the Odisha Veteran Soldiers’ Association alleged, ”The soldiers who are sacrificing their lives are not given five acres of land. Even their lands are snatched away and given to mining mafia. Big political leaders are given land here. While the retired soldiers shouldn't be given land?"    

Besides, teachers and non-teaching staff of Non-government aided and Non-Aided College Teaching and non-teaching(+2 and +3) employees Association have been staging protests over their demands. They demanded that the grant-in-aid should be provided to 3,000 employees appointed by the college governing bodies between 2008 and 2013. 

They have been agitating for the last 16 years for their demands, but they lamented that the government is allegedly paying no heed to them. They warned of intensifying their agitation.

Sukant Behera, secretary of the Association, said, ”The Odisha government will be responsible for any unpleasant situation that may arise in case the government fails to meet their demands.”  

Moreover, retired teachers of aided and non-aided primary schools opposed the Cabinet approval of a one-time lump sum to teachers. They will continue their strike and warned that they will field candidates in each Assembly seat in the upcoming elections. 

Ranjan Kumar Panda, secretary of the New Aided Retired Teachers Association said that if their demands are not met, they will field candidates in 147 Assembly seats against the BJD MLAs.

Ranjan Kumar Das, secretary of the OSSTA said that the government should declare some schools which are eligible for aid. 

Higher Education Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said that the state government has taken a host of measures for the school and college teachers. 

BJP leader Rama Ranjan Baliayarsingh said, ”Like a daily marker, Cabinet meetings are being held to approve whatever proposals are presented. This is against the Constitution. The government’s popularity has declined. The government fails to keep faith in itself. That is why they are worried and passing proposals one after another.”

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