Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s mega show with guest teachers, days after the Delhi Cabinet cleared a salary hike for them, was marred by protests as the upset academic professionals vented their ire against the government for allegedly making “false promises”. Kejriwal held the BJP and Congress responsible for the fracas at Chhatrasal Stadium where the event was held yesterday afternoon. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and home minister Satyendar Jain were also present at the event. Addressing the gathering, which comprised of guest teachers and heads of schools, Kejriwal said the final approval pertaining to the hike was pending with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and he is ready to “snatch it” from him.
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Kejriwal also promised to take steps towards making guest teachers permanent, while Sisodia said the first step towards their regularisation have already been taken by rechristening them as “contractual teachers”.
“Guest teachers were treated like bonded labourers until now… If need be, I will personally meet the L-G to effect the hike soon. Obstacles are also being created towards making you (guest teachers) permanent. But we will do that as soon as possible,” the chief minister said.
When the crowd started demanding that Kejriwal announce from when the new salary structure will be effective, he said “soon”. Within moments the crowd started deserting the stands of the stadium.
As the ministers left the dais, a number of guest teachers gathered and started shouting slogans against Kejriwal and the government, claiming they were “forced” to attend the event with the promise that certain announcements would be made.
“The government just spoilt our day. Nothing came out of the event. We were expecting an announcement that the new salaries will be applicable from January. This is nothing but drama they have been doing since last year,” a teacher said.
Later, at a press conference, Kejriwal slammed BJP and Congress, claiming that the agitators were “not teachers at all”. “When I was going out I saw people standing with sticks. They were not teachers at all,” he said.
“The meeting is not to pat the back of the government for having cleared a salary hike. The concept of guest teachers will be history and this is just the beginning towards big reforms.
“We are working to make them permanent. We will do that, but in the meantime we have changed their status and turned them into contract teachers. We thank the guest teachers for their contribution during summer camps this year,” Sisodia, who also hold the education portfolio, said.
Last week, the Kejriwal government had proposed to increase the salaries of guest teachers by up to 90 per cent and the file pertaining to the matter was sent to Jung for his approval.
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