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Friday, 12 October 2018 | Monika Malik

In the ongoing confrontation between the teachers and the Punjab Government, no one is ready to take a softer line. While the teachers have declared to have “no talks” with the Minister, the Education Department on Thursday transferred five with nine others were given show cause notice.

In latest development, the Department has transferred five teachers to far off districts who refused to be a part of the state government’s ambitious project ‘Padho Punjab, Padhao Punjab’. In protest, many teachers have left their WhatsApp groups made under the Parho Punjab Parhao Punjab project.

Besides, the Department has also issued show-cause notices to nine teachers over indiscipline after they reportedly raised slogans in the school premises. Teachers at various schools in Mohali and Muktsar have started a protest along with the students outside school premises.

Already, the Department has issued suspension orders of five protesting teachers.

Undeterred by the strict stance adopted by the Punjab Government, the joint teachers’ union continued their protest for the fifth day at Patiala — the home constituency of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

Protesting against the Congress-led Punjab Government’s “offer” for regularising teachers’ job with about three-fourth salary cut, no less than 150 teachers, from joint teachers’ union of Rashtriya Madhayamik Siksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) and Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyaan (SSA), have started protest dharna since Sunday evening at Patiala, while many others are sitting on fast-unto-death.

The development came a day after the state Director General School Education (DGSE) had issued a notification to regularise the services of teachers, principals or headmasters working under the SSA, RMSA and Adarsh or Model schools.

As per the notification, the proposed beneficiaries have been given a chance to give option as to whether they want their services to be regularised within the Education Department or to continue working under RMSA society on a contractual basis.

They have been given a 15-day period, that is till October 23, to confirm their decision. The notification also stated that “only those staff who opt for regularisation within this period will have their services regularised in the department and others will miss the bus”.

Taking strong note, the Chief Minister has already sought a detailed report of the ongoing agitation from the Education Minister OP Soni.

Chief Minister had reportedly expressed concern over the manner in which the teachers have been protesting, and the way the Education Department is dealing with the situation including the suspension of five teachers, out of which three hails from Patiala.

On the other hand, Soni had warned of action while making it clear no teacher be given salary in case they did not join their job.

Punjab Cabinet, past week, had given its go-ahead to regularize services of as many 8,886 teachers recruited under SSA, RMSA, and also under Adarsh and Model Schools, but with a pay cut for first three years.

The teachers refused to accept the government’s “offer” to regularise their services with about 35 percent cut in their salaries, and retorted with series of protests, burning Chief Minister’s effigy, and finally starting a fast-unto-death in his home town Patiala from Sunday.

As many 7356 teachers under SSA, 1194 under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA), along with 220 for Model schools and 116 for Adarsh schools, will be regularised.

As per the Cabinet decision, services of these teachers or employees be regularized by absorbing them by creating these posts in School Education Department subject to the condition that they would be paid Rs 15,000 per month for three years. And on successful completion of three years, their services would be regularized by the Department, strictly as per rules.

The protesting teachers have now been demanding from the government to revoke its decision of regularising the teachers with a salary cut.

Besides, the RMSA and SSA teachers have made it clear that they would not end their protest till the State Government accept their demands of regularisation, equal-pay or equal work, among others.

At the same time, the Union leaders are also asking the affected teachers to not to accept any offer by the state government and continue protesting for their rights.

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