Will it be a Merry Christmas for the over 12,000 SSA teachers in Meghalaya?
Shillong: The teachers with the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), who have not been paid their salaries for five months now, are not sure if they should look forward to some Christmas cheer. At present, 12,541 SSA teachers in Meghalaya have not been paid their dues since August this year.
The Central government has not released any funds under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan since April, 2020. Earlier in August, the teachers were paid their salaries, due since April, through the chief minister's corpus fund.
The SSA teachers, under the umbrella of Meghalaya SSA Schools Association (MSSASA), have now decided to launch a 'postcard campaign’ to the Prime Minister’s Office starting December 15, to protest against the Centre’s delay in releasing their salaries.
Meghalaya Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui told EastMojo that he has been pursuing the matter with the Central government for the past three months. The minister, however, hopes the funds would be released before Christmas.
"The SSA teachers have not been paid since August this year and the Centre is yet to release the funds for payment of their salaries since April. The director-in-charge has been communicating with the HRD ministry everyday. As of now, not even the first instalment has been released by the Government of India," Rymbui said.
The education minister told EastMojo that Rs 79 crore was earlier sanctioned through the chief minister's fund to meet the exigency.
"This fund was disbursed to the teachers in August. We are hopeful that the Centre will release the funds before Christmas. It is not just the salaries of SSA teachers, but all activities under SSA are affected due to non-release of funds," Rymbui said.
Denying any knowledge of the reason behind this delay, the minister added, "The corpus fund has already exhausted. And as soon they release the funds, it will have to be returned to the state government."
When contacted, MSSASA president Aristotle C Rymbai confirmed to EastMojo that 12,541 teachers in the state had not been paid their dues since August.
"If the state government is communicating with the Government of India, then how is the education minister not aware of the reasons for this delay in releasing funds?" Rymbai questioned.