Govt, SSA teachers’ impasse continues

Govt, SSA teachers’ impasse continues
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Kohima, June 8: The impasse between the Government of Nagaland and 2730 agitating SSA teachers in the State continues with both sides remaining firm on their respective stand depriving Government primary students of regular classes for more than a month now.
The Nagaland Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Teachers Association (NSSATA) is on the third day of their third phase of agitation demanding fulfilment of three-point charter of demands. They launched the first phase agitation on May 2 last with pen down strike, and resorted to second phase in the form of absenting from class.
During the course, they held several rounds of meeting at the top bureaucratic level but both sides were unable to find any breakthrough.
The Department of School Education accepting the NSSATA demand for release of pending salaries since January this year, has reportedly transferred the salaries to the bank accounts of the teachers for three months only after the start of the third phase of agitation.
“We were not willing to accept the salaries for three months as the government is yet to fulfil our other two demands,” said an aggrieved SSA teacher.
The other two demands are payment of SSA teachers salary with 7th RoP as has been done for the regular State Government employees and also inclusion of salaries from plan to non-plan fund.
However, addressing a press conference at the State Secretariat here this afternoon, Chief Secretary Temjen Toy said “the department has released their three months salary while the government has agreed in principle to include them in 7th RoP while the details of payment are being calculated.”
But the Chief Secretary ‘bluntly’ rejected demand for inclusion of the salary of SSA teachers into non-plan, stating “it is none of their business to direct the government on the matter”. “It is very infantile on their part to direct the government to transfer the salaries payment from plan and non-plan,” he said.
Pointing out that SSA teachers were recruited under the flagship programme and they are bound by the terms and conditions of this Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), he said their services would be terminated with the completion of the scheme.
Toy also accepted that the appointment orders issued to the 2010 and 2013 batch of SSA teachers in the State by the DoSE as regular state Government employees and subsequent RTI reply of the Department accepting the same was “shortcoming”, which needs to be rectified.
“The School Education Department and the Finance Department have been struggling to find a solution to this… some solution has to be arrived at,” he said, while also assuring that the Government will not take a decision that will be entirely disadvantageous to the teachers but the Government be given time to examine the matter.
“Here is a government at this appropriate point of time, where we are committed to find solutions to whatever problem faced in any of the sectors and education is one of them, specifically the SSA,” he said. He also said that things cannot happen overnight but implementation takes time.
He therefore appealed to the agitating teachers to remember their responsibility towards the students stating that “we cannot compromise the education of our children”.
The Chief Secretary also firmly declared that the Government cannot do beyond this and our stand is not going to change even if the agitation continues. “We have made out commitment and it stands,” he quipped.
Requesting the teachers to stand down the agitation and not to hold the future of children to ransom, Toy said appropriate action would be initiated as per the laid down rules and norms.
Principal Secretary of Education Department, Menukhol John said “the department is making sincere efforts and would do the best to resolve the issue”. He however lamented that due to trust deficit the SSA teachers have been continuing with the agitation despite making the stand of the government clear to them.
“We will continue to sincerely pursue all their legitimate demand,” he said while affirming that the Government has not slept over the present issue but have been going on a fast track to solve the problem.
On the other hand, NSSATA official interacting with media persons at the agitation site accepted that several meetings were held between the Department and the association but both sides never came to a conclusion due to the failure of the Government to give a written assurance on fulfilment of their demand.
They reiterated their stand that the State Government had appointed them as regular State employees and that they should be treated as other Government employees.
“We do accept that implementation takes time, but the government or the department is not able to give us the written assurance and therefore we will converge again on Monday and continue to demand for fulfilment of our demands”, they affirmed.
It may be mentioned that with the State facing two elections – State assembly poll in February and Lok Sabha bye-poll in May, the academic sessions were hampered to a great extent but the Department of School Education (DoSE) and SSA teachers continuing to remain rigid on their respective stand, the prime sufferers are the little kids in Government primary schools. (Page News Service)