BARAMULLA: Employees working for the Saakshar Bharat Mission (SBM), the government of India-sponsored scheme for education of illiterate adults, will hold a demonstration in Srinagar on Monday to demand salaries that they have not been paid for years.
Some reports said that the Government of India had recently released Rs 7 crore 25 lakh and the J&K government also released Rs 78 lakh for salaries of employees, but the J&K government has since said that the GoI has only released Rs 3 crore in which not just salaries but also study material and other school infrastructure has to be met in all 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Shabir Ahmad, an employee under the scheme, said that the Indian government introduced the SBM scheme for education of adults throughout India five years ago. It directed all state governments to introduce the scheme in all districts and educate all illiterate people without any age bar.
In the scheme, positions were created for district coordinators, block coordinators, and prerak/panchayat coordinators who are also called teachers, for whom salary was fixed at Rs 2,000 for each prerak. Ahmad said that the government had released funds on priority bases for the first two years but the state government later ignored the scheme and spent the money on other schemes of the education department.
Ahmad mentioned that there were 530 preraks in 290 panchayats in Baramulla district who are all without salaries for the past three years. With no one listening to them, they have had to resort to a protest demonstration against the state government.
Ahmad informed that the government had tasked all the district and block coordinators with preparing at least one lakh people for an examination that will be held in September this year. How is it possible, he asked, when there is no study material, no books, copies, pencils, black boards, rent for school, and most importantly, no salaries for teachers.
Employees of all ranks have now decided to protest together. These employees, including block and district coordinators, are contractual and not permanent government employees.