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Over 41K ReTs threaten strike for reforms in salary, transfer

Srinagar, Feb 17: Over 41,000 Rehbar-e-Taleem teachers (ReTs) in the state plan to go on strike when the schools reopen after the winter break in March.

Appointed under union government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the ReTs’ are paid by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

 

They, however, demand that their salaries should instead be paid by the state government.

Chairman J&K ReT Teachers Forum, Farooq Ahmad Tantray, told The Kashmir Monitor that they were still dependent on MHRD for salaries even after five years of appointment.

“The central govt slashes grants at will, resulting in shortfall in our salaries. We want the state government to pay our salaries from its own exchequer, so that our salaries are not withheld,” said Tantray.

He said their salaries have been unpaid for the last three months.

“The schools where ReTs were posted will not reopen in March, in case the government fails to meet our demand,” he said.

Tantray also demanded a “comprehensive” transfer policy for the ReTs, saying they have not been transferred “for the last 18 years”.

“We are giving an ultimatum to the state government: if our salaries are not delinked from MHRD till March 1 and a comprehensive transfer policy is not devised, the primary and middle schools will not reopen in the state,” he said.

The state government, a ReT alleged, does not follow the MHRD guidelines, resulting in the former scuttling funds.

“What have we to do with the MHRD? It is the responsibility of the Education Department to pay us,” said the teacher.

State Project Director SSA, A R War, said the decision about the ReTs salaries was to be taken by the government.

 “The MHRD has not stopped money. We get the money in installments. We would be getting the 2nd instalment (for the current financial year) soon,” he said.

Education Minister, Altaf Bukhari, however, said it was not possible to delink their salaries from the MHRD.

“It is a government of India scheme. How can their salaries be delinked?” Bukhari argued.

“We have no difficulty in the schools, as we are hiring teachers under academic arrangement. It is not that easy to create 41,000 vacancies. Would their adamant attitude work? If they want to do harm to themselves, then it is their call,” he added.

Bukhari said he would look into the demand for the transfer policy “on humanitarian basis”.