Teachers to hold strike on Thursday, threaten boycott of poll duty

SHABIR AHMAD
Anantnag: The Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Forum has called for state-wide protests and complete strike in all government schools across the valley on November 13 against the non-payment of salaries to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan teachers.
Several district and zonal-level representatives of teachers who spoke to Kashmir Reader said the SSA teachers in the state have not been paid salaries for the past six to seven months.
“The families of SSA teachers are virtually facing starvation. Many of them who were hit by floods are in severe crisis. But central and state governments are not serious in addressing the issue,” a group of representatives of teachers told Kashmir Reader.
The SSA scheme was introduced in the state in 2002 with the objective of the universalisation of elementary education. The funds for the SSA are being contributed by the government of India and the state government in the ratio of 65:35.
President Jammu and Kashmir Teachers Forum (JKTF) Abdul Qayoom Wani said, “We have been approaching the state authorities for the past seven months but they tell us that the HRD ministry has stopped the funds. We don’t know where the fault lies actually. We know only one thing that our teachers and their families are starving.”
He said that besides the shutdown in schools, teachers will assemble in Srinagar, Jammu and Ladakh on November 13 and demonstrate against the “ill attitude of the authorities towards teachers”.
On the same day, Wani said, the Forum will set a deadline by which the government must release the salaries.
“If government again fails to release the salaries before the deadline, then we will not only go on an indefinite strike but might also boycott election duties. The government will be solely responsible for the consequences,” Wani said.
Commissioner Secretary, Education, Nirmal Sharma admitted said that the salaries have not been paid because of the lack of funds. Whatever little funds the department had were paid to the teachers on Eid.
“The HRD ministry was apprised about the issue but even then they did not release funds. Now, we plan meeting the ministry again in this regard,” she said.