Srinagar, May 03: Demanding delinking of their salaries from the union government, over 41,000 Rehbar-e-Taleem (ReT) teachers on Thursday threatened to lock primary and middle schools in the valley.
Appointed under union government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the ReTs are paid by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
As their salaries get delayed by months, the ReTs demand that the state government should itself pay them.
The teachers, staging a sit-in at Press Enclave here, said they would lock all middle and primary schools on May 4 and 5, Chairman J&K ReT Teachers Forum, Farooq Ahmad Tantray, said.
“We have devised a protest calendar starting today. We will have a candlelight march towards the Chief Minister’s residence at Gupkar,” Tantray added.
The teachers, he said, would go for a “secretariat gherao” on May 7, when the Civil Secretariat opens in Srinagar.
“The government has made it a routine that they release a meagre one month’s salary and that, too, after three months delay, as if they give alms to beggars. We are nation-builders. We have been recruited under the ReT scheme through a proper government order,” he said.
Tantray demanded delinking of the ReTs’ salaries from MHRD.
“The salaries should be absorbed in the state budget, so that we are paid regularly. Till the government does not meet our demands, we will continue to be on strike,” he warned.
“A teacher recruited under the scheme becomes a permanent teacher after serving for five years. We are general-line teachers. Why is our salary delayed for months?” asked Tantray, adding that they have been without salaries for the last three months.
Appealing the protesting teachers to resume their duties, Minister for Education, Chowdhry Zulfikar Ali, said, “We will do whatever is possible for us.”
“We will take care of their interests. I have not joined yet. I will officially join on May 7. My first priority will be how their rights can be protected and how their future can be secured,” he added.
Appreciating the services of the ReTs, Zulfikar said that most of the schools were “dependent on them”.
“They have virtually streamlined the system. I will humbly request them to give us some more time. Once I am not able to handle the problem, they have every right to go on strike,” he said.