Ahead of termination day, nearly 10,000 Tripura teachers look for relief
With December 31 their last day, the teachers are expecting that the Manik Sarkar government will come up with new rules to save their jobs.india Updated: Dec 09, 2017 15:17 IST
The looming termination of 10,323 Tripura government school teachers on December 31 due to irregularities in recruitment will leave 40,000 lives dependent on them in the lurch unless the Manik Sarkar administration brings new rules to save their jobs.
About 15 teachers have died of depression-induced ailments since May 7, 2014, when the Tripura high court ordered the termination of the teachers’ jobs due to discrepancies in the hiring process.
The All Tripura 10,323 Teachers’ Association, which gave an ultimatum to the government on Friday to ensure job security by year-end, fears more depression-driven suicides if they are not reinstated after the termination order takes effect from January 1 next year.
Members of the association have also imposed a railway and national highway blockade, affecting movement of trains and goods-laden trucks.
“We have organised a series of agitations, had meetings with chief minister Manik Sarkar and the education minister. We did not get anything beyond assurances. We want a permanent solution,” Uttam Kumar Dey, an association leader, said on Saturday.
“We lost 11 members after the 2014 high court order and a few more after the Supreme Court upheld the high court order on March 29. The ball is now in the state government’s court, and we are doomed if it does not act fast,” Dey said.
Around 700 teachers left the association after qualifying through the Teachers’ Eligibility Test a few months ago. But more than 70% of the teachers facing termination are past the eligible age to apply for TET or other jobs, association leaders said.
State education minister Tapan Chakraborty has urged the teachers to call off their blockade since the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the state government’s petition on Monday seeking extension of the appointments.
“The government is sympathetic to their plight, and we do not intend to use force on them for lifting the blockade,” he said.
The association too is divided on the mode of agitation. A section does not favour railway and highway blockade that “affects normal life” and prefers to storm the secretariat instead.
Officials said the government had created 13,000 non-teaching posts soon after the apex court’s verdict to absorb the 10,323 teachers facing the axe.
Of these new posts, 12,000 were created in education department and the rest in social welfare and social education departments. The posts are of academic counsellor (1,200), student counsellor (3,400), school library assistant (1,500), hostel warden (300), school assistant (5,600) and early childhood coordinator (1,000).
But the terminated teachers’ association doubts if their members would be accommodated in these posts. They have also questioned the move to rehabilitate qualified and experienced teachers in non-teaching posts.
Opposition parties, particularly the BJP that wants to win Tripura after Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, termed the creation of the non-teaching posts as “political gimmick”.
Three Left Front MPs of the state — two of Lok Sabha — have meanwhile asked the Union human resources development ministry to relax the minimum age criterion for the teachers to appear for TET.