Block grant teachers stage protests on Odisha CM’s birthday

Bhubaneswar: Although Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik skipped his 69th birthday celebrations on Thursday considering the devastating impact of Cyclone Hudhud on southern and coastal Odisha districts, but the block grant teachers across the state observed it as a day of starvation.

The block grant teachers staged protests lamenting the state government’s step motherly attitude towards them for years. Earlier two day s back on Tuesday, the Odisha secondary school teachers’ association (OSSTA) had announced to observe the CM’s birthday as ‘starvation day’.

Citing reasons about the strange decision, OSSTA office bearers had stated that despite their repeated appeals to chief minister Patnaik, their years-long problems still persists. The indifferent attitude of the state government forced them to observe the CM’s birthday as a starvation day.

It can be recalled that to streamline secondary education in Odisha, an Act was passed in 1994 for providing grant-in-aid to schools. The system was replaced in 2004 by block grant, a grant system devoid of annual increment in salary and dearness allowance. But the teachers have been opposing the system and have often staged mass agitation and protests.

As far as Patnaik skipping his birthday celebrations, the Odisha CM had taken a similar decision last year after Cyclone Phailin caused extensive damage in his home district Ganjam and in other parts of the state. Patnaik was born on October 16, 1946 at Anand Bhawan in Cuttack.