Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJP leader and Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan took a swipe at the state government today on ‘teacher on call’ issue.

In his message on a social media on the Teachers’ Day (Guru Divas) and Ganesh Puja today, Pradhan said at present a total of 1,07,752 newly aided teachers, Gana Sikshaks and Siksha Sahayaks are appointed in primary schools in Odisha on contract.

“It is the responsibility of the government of a welfare state to relieve the teachers of their existing financial problems so that they can take proper care of the students”, he pointed out.

Stating that 13,977 posts of high school teachers have fallen vacant in the state, Pradhan said the state government, instead of appointing thousands of B.Ed and CT candidates, who are waiting in the wings, as regular teachers against these vacant posts, has preferred to fill up these posts through its ‘teacher on call’ policy.

“The state government and the ruling party leaders had severely criticised me for telling the media that the state government has been using the contract teachers as Uber an OLA rented vehicles. I again stick to my earlier statement and urge the state government to appoint regular teachers in our educational institutions and regularise the teachers who have been given contract appointment. Let the government refrain from unethical practice of providing paltry salary to the contract teachers and terminating them later as per its whims and caprice”, he maintained.

Quoting official records, the Union minister said there is no high school in 38 Gram Panchayats in the state while 376 schools do not have their own buildings.

He further said out of 53,252 schools, 42,070 schools do not have a playground which is about 80 percent of the total schools in the state.

He said minimum requirement of a school is to have at least one room for each class, “Unfortunately, there is no such provision in 41,670 schools which is about 80 percent of the total schools in the state”, he lamented.

Reacting to Pradhan’s statement, BJD spokesperson Surya Narayan Patro said Union minister, instead of politicising the issue, should worship guru on Guru Divas.

“Whatever Pradhan has said is far from truth. Before giving such wayward and absurd statements, he should read the Central guidelines on ‘teacher on call’ which is followed by the state government,” he noted.

School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra said the state government has taken steps to fill up teacher posts. “Let the Union minister refrain from Badi Pala”, he suggested.