Meghalaya SSA teachers on protest
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Shillong: Tired and frustrated because their salaries are pending for the last three months, teachers under the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Schools Association on Tuesday held a sit-in demonstration at Malki Ground in Shillong city.

A total of 12,541 SSA teachers have not received salaries for the months of June, July and August.

Meghalaya SSA Association president Aristotle Rymbai said their protest is against the state govt for not fulfilling their demands which they had submitted to the government since 2018. The demand includes the implementation of a pay structure and increasing the salary of the 12,541 SSA teachers. 

“We demand the government to create and merge all the SSA teachers — from state implementation society to state education department — on regular basis as per provisions of RTE Act, 2009, and SSA-RTE norms,” added Rymbai.

Besides, the association has demanded the release of three months’ salary of the teachers. They said if the government fails to meet their demands before September 30, 2021, then in November, they will launch a two-day mass casual leave as a mark of protest.

It may be mentioned that this is not the first time that salaries of teachers have been delayed. Previously, the salaries were pending for four to five months and the state government had released only one or two months’ salary, alleged Rymbai.

“This has now become a routine for the government. We are here today to protest against what’s happening since we are also humans. We have responsibilities that we have to fulfil; how can we feed our families,” the association president said.

He added that some teachers, who had contracted the coronavirus, struggled to even pay their hospital bills. Some of the teachers succumbed to COVID-19 and never received their pending salaries, he claimed.

“It was very painful, so the government has to understand that we are facing many challenges during this pandemic,” said Rymbai.

Before the decision to hold their demonstration, the association had met with the state project director, Ambrose Marak, on September 6. They were reportedly informed that the state had not received the first instalment from the Government of India.

“What is surprising is that why is the government not using money from the state budget?” asked Rymbai.

Support from Congress

The Congress party also went to meet with the agitated teachers at Malki Ground on Tuesday.

Association general secretary Ralbingland L Nonglait said they are pleased to see that the Congress party is concerned and that MLA HM Shangpliang had raised the issue in the Assembly during the Budget Session this year.

EastMojo tried to contact Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui but he was not available for comments.

It may be mentioned that in 2020, after months of protests by teachers, the Central government had finally released funds to the tune of Rs 158 crore for the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) on December 23 of last year. The teachers had not received their salaries since August 2020 and finally received it in December 2020.

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