The Chhattisgarh government and nearly 1.5 lakh teachers are at loggerheads, with the latter on strike for the past three days. The government has issued orders asking the teachers — primary and middle school teachers contracted to gram and janpad panchayats — to return to work or face losing their jobs.
Senior government officials said they were hopeful of a resolution, but have begun to make contingency plans in case there is none. Meanwhile, primary schools continue to be affected across the state.
The teachers began their protest, which they call an indefinite strike, across the state on November 20. Representatives of the teachers’ union said they had submitted a list of nine primary demands, which they also communicated in a meeting to CM Raman Singh last week. The main demand is to be regularised as government employees. “We are asking for things that were promised to us, including in the BJP manifesto. We are employees of janpad panchayats and not of the state government per se, therefore we do not get several benefits. There are also issues of pay hikes,” a teacher said.
The state government has expressed displeasure at the protests having continued even after a meeting with the CM, who said a committee would be set up to look into the demands. The government and its panchayat department have written to all zila panchayat CEOs, ordering them to initiate action if the teachers do not return to their jobs in three days.