Shillong: The SSA teachers in Meghalaya may soon land in trouble if they continue with the indefinite strike. The state government could issue an Order of no work, no pay or withdraw the grant to the managing committee for those schools which are closed despite repeated requests by the Government of Meghalaya.
Meghalaya education minister Lahkmen Rymbui on Wednesday urged the SSA teachers to return to work. Rymbui reiterated that the SSA teachers met him multiple times, and he has explained that the state government has complied with Central Government requirements to release the first instalment.
“We are awaiting the first instalment. Once we receive the funds, we will be able to release the teachers’ salaries. We don’t know how much will be released in this first instalment, but we want them to release as much as possible,” mentioned Rymbui.
The state government has been in constant touch with the central government requesting for the sanctioned funds to be released at the earliest to ease the plight of the teachers. The SSA teachers are yet to receive five months’ salaries pending since February.
Rymbui said that due to the delay in funds, teachers are going through a lot of hardship. “We understand their hardship, but there are things not in our hands. So we have to understand that we should work together and they should resume their classes,” said the education minister.
Rymbui further recalled that the laxity of payments has been happening since 2018 even before the MDA government came to power.
The government is also trying to streamline the education department to reduce the categories of teachers. However, this is expected to happen gradually and cannot be done in a year or so because it involves massive funding.
Earlier, the state government decided to enhance the grant-in-aid to ad-hoc teachers. The ad-hoc teachers spent a week sleeping on the roads to pressurise the government to meet their demands.
90% of the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan Scheme is funded by the Central Government and 10% is borne by the state.
According to Rymbui, about 10% of the schools have been affected due to the teachers protesting.
Asked if the government had succumbed to the ad-hoc teachers who protested and partially agreed to their demands similar to the SSA resorting to the same steps, Rymbui refuted that that was what inspired them to take this decision.
Govt created a corpus fund in 2019 and sanctioned Rs 79 crore plus from the Corpus Fund to clear the pending salary of the SSA teachers.
“It was last year we had exhausted our entitlement because 79 crores plus was drawn from the corpus fund to meet the demand or the salary of the SSA teachers,” said Rymbui.
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