Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's talks with the unemployed elementary trained teachers (ETT) on Wednesday failed to reach a consensus as they rejected the offer for jobs at a paltry monthly salary of Rs 2,000 on contractual basis for two years.
These 3,500-strong unemployed teachers had intensified their protest for jobs in 2010 after they got two-year ETT certificates for teaching in primary schools on the initiative of the state's education department.
After the talks that lasted for one-and-a-half-hour failed, disgruntled protesters raised anti-government slogans at Punjab Bhawan and were roughed up by the police.
While the official press note later stated that Badal had offered "two years of gainful contractual employment to them, besides taking up their case of exempting them from the teacher's eligibility test (TET) with the union government", delegation's spokesperson Gagan Rani said the offer of Rs 2,000 monthly salary was unjustified and a cruel joke.
"Several teachers have spent nearly Rs 2 lakh each for the ETT study in private institutions on the assurance of the government that they would be absorbed in primary schools after the closure of the centrally-sponsored education guarantee scheme (EGC) in 2008," Rani pointed out.
Rani stated that the senior officials of the education department have now sought month's time to decide their fate, which, she termed a tactic for delaying a decision on the issue.
Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka, principal secretary, school education, Anjali Bhawra and director general, school education, Kumar Rahul were present in the meeting.
Six protesters atop a water tank for 3 months
The HT reports from Barnala stated it is for three weeks now that six ETT protesters were atop a water tank at Cheema village in Barnala district, demanding regular jobs on the basis of their professional qualification.
Under the banner of 'Shaheed Kiranjit Kaur EGS/AIE (ETT) Adhyapak Action Committee, hundreds of protesters have been holding a sit-in at the village in the presence of heavy deployment of police.
They have scheduled a 'chakka jam' and a protest rally in Barnala on December 10 in the wake of the failure of Wednesday's talks with the CM, their spokespersons said. Kiarnjit Kaur had immolated herself in February 2010 during a protest for jobs in Kapurthala.
Meanwhile, protesters at Cheema village blocked traffic on the Barnala-Moga road when they came to know that their union leaders have been taken to police station in Chandigarh. However, the blockade was lifted after a few minutes when they learnt about the release of their leaders.