Shillong: The agitating ad-hoc school teachers in Meghalaya on Monday rejected the State Cabinet’s decision to upgrade their salaries far less than demanded and would therefore continue with their protest.
On Monday, the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma decided to upgrade the salaries of secondary, higher secondary and science teachers by Rs 9000 and lower, upper primary, Hindi and fourth school teachers by Rs 6000 from July 1, 2022.
Sangma, who also holds the Finance portfolio, said the enhancement will impact roughly Rs 100 crore annually on the state budget.
The decision to enhance the grant-in-aid to the ad-hoc school teachers came after the teachers refused to call off their indefinite sit-in-protest near the additional state secretariat to put pressure on the government to give in to their demands.
Sangma said now the teachers of Higher Secondary Schools will get Rs 33,000/Secondary Schools will get Rs 29,000, Science teachers will get Rs 31,000, Upper Primary teachers will get Rs 22,000, Lower Primary teachers will get Rs. 18,000, Hindi teachers will get Rs 18,000 and the 4th teachers for SSA will get Rs 18,000.
Soon after the cabinet meeting, the agitating teachers went into a huddle and then announced that they would not accept the upgrade.
The teachers are demanding that the salaries of the teachers be increased by Rs 18000 uniformly.
“This is an insult and tactic to divide and rule over the teachers like the British. There is no uniformity and the enhancement is far less than our demands. We would continue with our agitation and meet again tomorrow (Tuesday) and decide,” Federation of School Teachers of Meghalaya (FASTOM) Spokesperson, Mayborn Lyngdoh said.
The school teachers were demanding a uniform 75 per cent hike of their present salaries, however, the state cabinet decided to upgrade the salaries of secondary and higher secondary teachers by 50 per cent and those from lower and upper primary by 25 per cent.
Attacking the Conrad Sangma-led government for not taking into consideration the teachers’ point of view while taking its decision, Lyngdoh said, “When we asked about the enhancement proposal none of the ministers or bureaucrats gave us any details, saying the proposal is confidential.”
Terming the cabinet decision as “unilateral and taken without consultations”, the FASTOM leader claimed, “the democratic process was not followed, despite our democratic and peaceful protest.”
In Meghalaya, there are different categories of teachers which include government school teachers, deficit school teachers and ad hoc school teachers. Ad-hoc school teachers are those appointed by the school management committees of private educational institutions.
This legacy of different categories of school teachers has been inherited by the present government and has been prevalent for several decades. The state government has been providing grant in aid to these ad hoc schools for decades.
Meanwhile, several NGOs and political leaders from across party lines visited the protesting site and extended their support to the agitating teachers.
On the other hand, Senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislator and Leader of Opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma has suggested the government cut down on the MLA scheme by Rs 50 lakh to make up for the hike in the salary of ad-hoc school teachers.
“Cut down on our MLA schemes @ Rs. 50, 00, 000/ save thirty crore of rupees for meeting the requirements,” Sangma tweeted.