20 days on, Odisha teachers stay put on streets

Bhubaneswar: The agitation by Odisha school and college teachers association entered its 20th day today and it seems like the stir will intensify in the coming days. The teachers will be observing the Teachers’ Day tomorrow as Black Day and form September 6 they have threatened to lock up schools and colleges.

However, the government seems to be unmoved till now with the School and Mass Education Minister Badri Patra taking a dig on the agitators today saying, “I don’t know who are observing Black Day.”

“I don’t think the teachers are doing any good by observing Black Day on September 5. The State government is trying hard to resolve the issues through discussions, but observing the day (Teachers’ Day) as black day, is not welcome,” said Patra.

“In the last 20 days, the government has not come forward for any official discussions on our demands. The concerned officials and ministers are not giving importance to the promise that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had made. So, we have decided to wear black badges on Wednesday (September 5) as a mark of protest,” said Golak Nayak, convenor of Odisha School College Teachers and Employees’ United Forum.

“The government should first understand why it has been decided to observe Teachers’ Day as Black Day. Even after working for 25-30 years, we are yet to get the designation of a teacher,” said a protesting teacher responding to Patra’s remark.

If the government doesn’t show interest in resolving our issues, we will continue our strike and all the schools and colleges will be shut down, said another teacher.

The teachers have been agitating since August 16 demanding removal of affidavit clause in the newly-announced grant-in-aid system, equal salary for equal work, provision of full aid and several other service conditions.

}