Devbrat Patnaik

"They say this is 5T government. But in schools, there is no TEAM anymore. Juniors became seniors, and seniors have become juniors. There is no transparency in the government order,” said Jitendra Nayak, a contractual teacher protesting at the Lower PMG area in Bhubaneswar. 

A massive rally was organized by NPS Secondary School Teachers’ Association today in the state capital in protest against the contractual recruitment process of the government.

As per their allegations, the government had promised to abolish the contractual appointment system and regularize jobs of all the teachers at the higher secondary schools who had joined after 2004. However, these contractual teachers alleged that the notification of the General Administration department lacks transparency. 

Giving an ultimatum to the government, the agitating teachers warned of disrupting the Matriculation Summative-1 test scheduled on November 23, if government doesn’t come up with any concrete steps regarding job regularization of appointees between 2004 and 2013-14. 

Back in October 15 this year, Odisha government announced abolition of contractual recruitment system and termed it a historic move. However, it has been alleged that many primary school teachers haven't received any increment, nor has the government regularised their jobs. The newly formulated United Primary Teachers’ Federation, backed by three teachers’ associations, has informed that it will organise a massive rally in Bhubaneswar on November 27th to express their concerns.

Similarly, Odisha Secondary School Teachers' Association (OSSTA) has also warned that it will intensify the agitation and disrupt the matric exams if pension provisions are not extended. "We do not want students' future to be affected. We will definitely cooperate. But simultaneously we would also like to warn the government. If govt does not come up with solutions by Nov 30, we will cut off all ties with them from December 1. We will face them on the streets," said Prakash Mohanty, OSSTA Secretary.

The protest is not for no reason. Post government announcement on contractual system abolition, a notification issued by GA department on November 14 mentioned that Odisha Group B, C, D posts (Contractual Appointment) Rules, 2013 have been repealed. But the department did not mention a word about the appointments done prior to 2013.

Since 2004, nearly 2.80 lakh teachers and other staff have been recruited. However, abolition of contractual system benefited only 57000 employees. 

Odisha BJP spokesperson Manoj Mohapatra said, "Naveen Patnaik should stop this gamble and immediately announce regularization of jobs of all the contractual staff."

Expressing similar views, Congress spokesperson Debasish Patnaik said, "Even teachers will now start door-to-door campaigning for Padampur bypoll. And this might go against the state government. Ideally government should have given relief to everyone, what it did instead was not right. Government will bear the outcome of this." 

In response, State school and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash informed that discussions are underway to find a way out. "The teachers' association has given a memorandum to me. A meeting was held in this regard by Chief Secretary. Government might consider," Dash said.