meghalaya teachers

Shillong: Succumbing to pressure, Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong on Friday met with the protesting teachers under the banner of the Federation of All School Teachers of Meghalaya (FASTOM).

Tynsong urged the teachers to call off their indefinite strike and go back home and sleep well instead of sleeping in the streets of Shillong.

The deputy chief minister told FASTOM members that the government has decided to enhance a lump sum grant to the aided schools. He added that the planning department and the finance department are doing the paperwork for the same.

“We had discussed the teachers’ agenda in our last Cabinet, and we had planned to take up this agenda in the next cabinet and approve it, but then the teachers have started to protest,” said Tynsong.

The deputy chief minister explained that the government is with them and requested them to call off their protest.

“They said they will discuss with members and take a call to cancel agitation or to continue,” said Tynsong.

The minister was unable to provide the amount of increment or the lump sum grant and that this would be revealed only in the next cabinet meeting.

When asked what if teachers continue with their agitation, Tynsong said there may be a hidden agenda, else why would they choose to sleep on the road when he had already communicated to them the information?

Entering the fourth day of their indefinite strike or a sit-in demonstration, FASTOM on Friday garnered more support from different sections of the society.

Pressure groups like the Hynñiewtrep Youths Council (HYC), Jaintia Students Union (JSU) and political parties like the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) arrived at the additional secretariat, Shillong, where teachers are protesting, to show their support.

FASTOM protestors grew in numbers with each day. On day four, over 1000 ad-hoc teachers participated in the sit-in demonstration.

Earlier, they started their protest in front of the secretariat and camped the entire night on the pavements of the IGP area.

FASTOM has been demanding for enhancement of salaries and also to upgrade ad-hoc teachers to the deficit system. In the past months, there were several protests, but after a fruitful meeting with the CM, they agreed to call off their protest after they were assured that their demands would be taken up in the Cabinet.

FASTOM spokesperson Mayborn Lyngdoh said they informed the teachers what the deputy chief minister told them. “It is upon the teachers to take a call whether to continue or to call off the protest. The teachers have decided to wait till tomorrow to watch the news and hear what Tynsong has stated in front of the media. The teachers will then take a call,” said Lyngdoh.

In a recent interview, Lyngdoh mentioned that the government failed to keep its words to decide on the teachers’ demands in three cabinet sittings. Hence, they were determined to carry out the indefinite strike.

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