'Agitators are BJP cadres, not teachers'

KOLKATA: On a day when police registered a case against five teachers who attempted suicide in front of Bikash Bhavan on Tuesday while staging a protest, state Education minister Bratya Basu said the agitators were not teachers, but 'BJP cadres.'

The minister highlighted the various steps that the state government had taken for the welfare of the teachers of Sishu Siksha Kendra (SSK) and Madhyamik Siksha Kendra (MSK), including job security, increase of salary and retirement benefits.

"Even after the state government extended so many benefits, those who are agitating cannot be called 'teachers' but BJP cadres," Basu wrote on his Facebook page.

According to Bidhannagar City Police officials, the five teachers have been booked under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 189 (threat of injury to public servant), 309 (attempt to commit suicide), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC. The teachers may get arrested as soon as they are released from the hospital.

As per Basu's post, the SSKs and the MSKs were under the aegis of the Panchayats and Rural Development department during the Left Front rule in the state and received small token amount as salary. There was neither job security nor any retirement benefits. However, the present government under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had brought SSKs and MSKs under the School Education department. Their honorarium has been increased up to Rs 10340 monthly for the primary level and Rs 13,390 in the Madhyamik level. Three per cent yearly increment has also been announced.

Basu further stated that these teachers have also been included under Swastha Sathi (government health scheme) and those retiring at the age of 60 will be entitled to a one-time retirement benefit of Rs 3 lakh. Provident fund has also been started from February this year for those teachers who have informed the government of their retirement at the age of 60.

The women teachers are entitled for maternity leave as per government rules and there are also provisions of 18 days leave in a year, including medical and casual leaves.

Earlier, five female teachers, who were under the banner of Shikshak Oikya Mancha (teachers' unity forum), had tried to commit suicide by drinking poison in protest against their alleged transfer to places far from their homes.

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