Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers’ Organisation decline Harka Bahadur’s help

Writes: Rajeev Ravidas

Kalimpong MLA Harka Bahadur Chhetri yesterday said he would facilitate a meeting between state education minister Partha Chatterjee and the Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers’ Organization (JISTO), but hours later, the teachers’ body said the opposite.

The organisation has been holding demonstrations for around 20 days demanding job regularisation for 515 voluntary and para-teachers in the hills.

Chhetri said he had already briefed Chatterjee on the demand of the organisation and he would fix a meeting between him and the JISTO leaders when the minister comes to Kalimpong on November 20 to attend a programme of the Kalimpong Girls’ High School.

Chhetri did not mention other details.

“I have been approached by JISTO on many occasions. I am well aware of its demand and I will be present at the meeting with the minister to help articulate JISTO’s points of view,” Chhetri said today.

The teachers’ organisation is an affiliate of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha which Chhetri quit recently citing the dictatorial attitude of its chief Bimal Gurung.

After quitting the Morcha, Chhetri had revived the demand for a separate Kalimpong district.

But hours after he spoke about the meeting with Chatterjee, JISTO held a central committee meeting at Darjeeling this evening.

The secretary of the organisation, Vivek Newar, said: “We will meet the minister on our own.”

Newar said the organisation members would start a relay hunger strike in front of Lal Kothi, the GTA headquarters, from Friday demanding job regularisation.

The organisation is made up of voluntary teachers who have been asked by schools to help out for free or for a nominal honorarium, and parateachers, recruited under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

The para-teachers are usually given Rs 7,500 every month till the age of 60 years.

Chhetri said he was aware that the Morcha would accuse him of encroaching on the GTA’s functions, as education is a transferred subject.

“But I can’t remain silent when the GTA is doing nothing to ameliorate the plight of voluntary and para-teachers. Many of them are from Kalimpong. Being an elected representative of Kalimpong, it is my duty take up the cause,” the MLA said.

Since October 20, JISTO members have been staging dharnas at different places across the hills following one day’s cease-work with the regularisation demand.

Source : Telegraph

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