Our teachers are not Ola/Uber drivers, Pradhan hits out at govt

Bhubaneswar: In the wake of Odisha government’s recent decision to temporarily appoint retired teachers to fill up vacancies in secondary schools, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday criticised the government’s move and said the teachers are not like drivers of cab service companies Ola and Uber that they will attend the classes on ‘on call’ basis.

“Our teachers are not taxi drivers of Ola and Uber. In Odisha, there is no dearth of quality BEd and CT teachers for imparting education. What is the problem if they are given permanent appointments for the betterment of students,” Pradhan stated.

He said the State government should not play with the future of students.

Less than a week ago, in an effort to fill up large scale vacancy in teacher posts at the secondary school level, the Odisha government had decided to engage retired teachers from 2016-17 academic year. There are more than 10,000 vacancies in teacher posts at the secondary school level.

The decision had been taken because of the lengthy appointment process, pending court cases and unavailability of teachers belonging to SC and ST categories. As per the plan, the retired teachers will be engaged for a fixed period or till the vacancies are filled up through regular appointments.

Reacting to Pradhan’s statement, School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra said, “He (Pradhan) should not talk so irresponsibly by comparing the teachers with drivers of Ola and Uber. Our proposal is to smoothen the education system so that the studies of students should not be hampered.”

The Union minister, also attacked the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government on a host of issues.

“Odisha government only announces policies. The declarations are being made sitting at Bhubaneswar to influence the voters and nothing else,” he maintained.

On the Bhawanipatna issue in which a man carried his wife’s body for 10 kilometres due to non-availability of a hearse van, Pradhan made a veiled attack on the CM saying: “He (Patnaik) who fails to coordinate with the officials of district administration, how the social welfare programmes can be implemented in the State?”

Asked about the ongoing Mahanadi water dispute between Chhattisgarh and Odisha, the Union minister assured that the neighbouring state will share information on its water projects on the upper reaches of the river.

“BJP is working on the white paper and it will publish it very soon,” he said.