Bhubaneswar: Despite a written assurance from School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra about their reinstatement, members of Odisha Contract Teachers’ Association (OCTA) on Thursday pledged to continue the agitation until a government notification to this effect.
“The government assured us that the dismissed teachers would be reinstated by January 10. But, we are not moved with the assurance. Until a notification in this regard is issued, we will continue our strike,“ OCTA president Pradipta Pradhan told media persons.
“The reason being the State government has given us assurance twice in the past; first on November 22 and then on December 06 and it is yet to keep its words. How can we believe that this time it will keep the promise?” asked he.
Though the government after a meeting with the teachers’ body on Wednesday said a decision will be taken on the matter after receiving the SAT order and holding discussion with the advocate general (AG), the teachers said they will wait for the government announcement.
“Come what may, this time we are not going to leave the dharna place. We will go back home only after the government publishes notification regarding our reinstatement,” a teacher from Balasore said.
On December 17, the Cuttack bench of State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) had directed the State government to modify its 2014 notification on appointment of contract teachers and keep the upper age limit at 42. The bench of SAT judicial and administrative members have ordered the State government to come out with a fresh notification with the modified upper age limit which will be applicable for the current year only.
The SAT has also directed the government to complete the recruitment process within two months from the date of the order, which was kept reserved since November 24 after concluding the hearing.
Reacting on the development, Mishra said, “We are yet to receive the SAT order. After reviewing it, we’ll be able to take a decision in this regard.”
Official sources said the School and Mass Education department will convene a high-level meeting on the issue on January 4 and 5.
Notably, in June, the State government had given appointment to 4,000 contractual teachers in 1,042 schools. But on November 23, the government cancelled the appointments, following an order of the Odisha High Court, which triggered a statewide stir by the agitated teachers opposing the move.