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Morcha calls voluntary teachers verification move biased

Roshan Giri
The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today alleged that the state government had called only those voluntary teachers who were close to Trinamul for verification of documents for "wage revision".
The Morcha has called the move "biased" and claimed that the verification is being done by the School Service Commission on the premises of the district inspector of school's office in Siliguri and not in Darjeeling.
The verification will be held for three days from tomorrow and DIs of Siliguri and Darjeeling have been asked to assist the SSC officials.
Voluntary teachers are those who have been appointed by the managing committees of secondary and higher secondary schools in the hills. They were recruited because the SSC has been defunct in the hills since 2003.
The 500-odd voluntary teachers are not paid salaries either by the state government or the GTA. They are given monthly allowances depending on the resources that the managing committees can generate. But notices sent to the teachers to appear for verification speak of "wage revision". Its not clear if the government plans to pay them.
The teachers have been demanding regularisation of their jobs since 2009. Most of them were previously under the Morcha-affiliated Janmukti Insecure Secondary Teachers' Organisation. However, last year, many teachers floated "an apolitical" Hill Secondary Temporary Teachers' Organisation and still, pledged allegiance to Trinamul.
Roshan Giri, the general secretary of the Morcha as well as the GTA Sabha executive member in charge of school education, today warned of unrest in the hills.
"The state government is politicising education and unemployment in the hills. Despite education being a transferred subject, the GTA has not been informed of the move and more dangerously, only those teachers who are with Trinamul have been asked to go to Siliguri to get their documents verified. Such a move is biased and will create unrest in the hills and the state will be be responsible for it."
Amit Gurung, the president of the HSTTO, said Roshan Giri and the GTA could do nothing for the teachers. "When the government is trying to help us and put a system in place, why is he making it an issue?" asked Gurung.
Chandra Bhandari, the convener of the JISTO, said it would approach court if all the teachers were not called for the verification.
Sources in the Darjeeling DI office said they were getting inquiries from many teachers who wanted to know why they were not invited to the verification. "Since voluntary teachers are not under us, we do not know who have been called or left out. We have only been directed from Calcutta to be present during the verification," said a source.
In Calcutta, officials in the education department pleaded ignorance and said the move might be linked to "some local politics".(TT)

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