Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Braving rain and sun, teachers under the aegis of Odisha School College Teachers and Employees’ United Forum today, after a lull of two months, resumed their strike and have staged a dharna near Gandhi Marg in Bhubaneswar over non-fulfillment of their earlier demands.

As per sources, over one lakh teachers and support staff from various schools across the State are likely to join the protests against the State government's ‘anti-teacher’ policy and dilly-dallying approach.

The teachers have threatened that the protest will continue till their demands including abolition of the block grant system, equal salary for equal work, provision of full aid & facilities to block grant teachers etc are not fulfilled.

Demanding immediate intervention of CM Naveen Patnaik, the teachers stated that all schools and colleges across the State would remain closed.

Though the government has abolished the block-grant system and introduced grant-in-aid, President of the forum Pabitra Mahala alleged that provisions under grant-in-aid has become a major cause of concern.

Following repeated protests by the teachers few months back, the state government had promised that the demands would be fulfilled by July 18, but no steps have been taken yet, the forum alleged.

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The forum has further alleged that the new system that was launched by the government is faulty as there is no service condition and provision of pension for retired teachers.

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Ananta Das stated, "Their demands are changing every hour. The situation is getting more problematic with frequent change in their demands. We are discussing with them to resolve the issue. A decision in this regard will be taken immediately."

Their demand to withdraw the ‘controversial’ affidavit clause prescribed in the Grant-in-Aid (GIA) Policy-2017 was also fulfilled earlier but they are coming with more demands every time, the Minister added.