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Partha meets agitating para-teachers, hears demands

Kolkata: State Education minister Partha Chatterjee conducted a meeting and gave

a patient hearing to the demands of agitating para-teachers at Bikash Bhavan on Wednesday.

"Today, we conducted a meeting with the agitating para-teachers and also those who are not agitating. They alleged that the Central government is sending money but state government is not spending money on the para-teachers. They asked us to show the papers mentioning allocation of fund. We showed them the papers and told them that the Central government or MHRD ministry is not sending money under specific heads or purpose," said Chatterjee.

It may be mentioned that an organisation of para-teachers had started their agitation at Central Park from November 11, demanding a pay structure with regular increments

and since November 22, 30 of them have been on an indefinite fast.

The other demands of the para-teachers are dearness allowance, medical allowance, provident fund and childcare leaves.

The state government had stated that show-cause notices were being issued to those who did not take classes during the period of indefinite fast.

It might be mentioned that last year, the Education department had given a pay hike to nearly 22,085 para-teachers at primary level from Rs 5,954 to Rs 10,000. Similarly, for 26,585 para-teachers at the higher secondary level, the increase in pay was from Rs 8,500 to Rs 13,000.

However, the para-teachers have alleged that the salary is meagre considering the present market condition and in comparison with the salary in other professions.

A full-time teacher starts on a salary of Rs 24,000 at the primary level, while the denomination at the upper primary level is Rs 34,000.

"At present, there are 48,563 para-teachers in Bengal. Members of all four organisations of para-teachers were present during the meeting. The ministers paid heed to our demands. Mr Chatterjee said he will write a letter to the Central government and discuss our problems with the Cabinet," said Ramiul Islam Sheikh of West Bengal Trinamool Para-Teachers Association.

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