Updated: November 28, 2021 8:52:51 am
The teachers have been protesting for last over four months demanding that permanent jobs and a hike in salary. They claim that they get Rs 6,000 month, an amount that has not been revised since 2003.
Kejriwal, after landing at the Chandigarh airport, went straight to the protest site outside the Punjab School Education Board building and listened to the teachers before asking them to give one chance to the AAP to form the government in Punjab even as he claimed that his party in Delhi had improved the education system and addressed issues of teachers there.
“Teachers are nation builders. I solved their problems and now the teachers are solving the problems of the whole of Delhi’s children and mine as well,” Kejriwal said.
Three teachers – Ajmer Aulakh (42), Devinder Sandhu (34) and Jaswant Pannu (42) – who are the convenors of the protest, earlier told Kejriwal that successive governments in Punjab, led by the SAD-BJP combine and the Congress, have failed to fulfill their demands. “In 2017, Capt Amarinder Singh had promised to take up the demand of the teachers. But nearly five years later, nothing has changed,” said Aulakh.
Slamming the ruling Congress and the previous SAD-BJP government for not acceding to teachers’ demands, Kejriwal said, “I promise that when we form the government, we will regularise you”.
He said the protesting teachers were getting Rs 6,000 per month while the minimum wage for daily wage workers in Delhi comes to Rs 15,000 per month. “Teachers in Delhi are being sent to foreign countries for training while in Punjab they are forced to climb atop mobile towers to make themselves heard. The people of Punjab had put their faith in different parties in the past. I now want to assure you that I addressed issues of teachers in Delhi and we will resolve issues in Punjab as well,” said Kejriwal.
Earlier, a wheelchair-bound differently-abled teacher from Jalandhar, Karamveer Singh, said they want pay at par with the permanent teachers. “We want our demands to be considered. I an finding it hard to handle my household bills. I have two loans for which I pay pay a cumulative EMI of Rs 4,000 per month leaving me with hardly anything for other works,” said the 36-year-old who teaches at a primary school and holds BEd degree.
Thirty year-old Rajwinder Kaur, a resident of Amritsar, who teaches children with special need, added, “I have been working for last 10 years and despite having completed the Nursery Teacher’s Training and Elementary Teacher’s Training, all I get is Rs 6,000 per month. All we want is regular jobs and better pay”.
AAP’s Punjab unit chief and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Maan said it was a sad situation that the teachers who should be in schools, have been forced to sit on roads for their demands. “I am also a teacher’s son and I understand their problems. These are qualified teachers and they deserve better. I had only heard of ‘Kaccha-Pakka’ houses, but now even teachers are addressed lime that,” Mann said.
Earlier, Kejriwal also also took a dig at Education Minister Pargat Singh over his claims that Punjab had the best schools. Kejriwal asked Pargat to come and ask the protesting teachers how good the state schools are. “They will tell their pain and then you will come to know how good the Punjab schools are. If you do not understand the problem and then how will you find a solution for it,” said Kejriwal.
Kejriwal also visited the PTI teachers sitting in dharna atop the water tank near Shaheedan Gurdwara in Sohana. Addressing the protestor Sippy Sharma sitting atop the tank he requested her to come down as she may fall ill and was already suffering from fever.
A group of women who said they were from the mahila wing of SAD (Sanyukt), earlier tried to disrupt Kejriwal’s meeting with the teachers. “The teachers must take all these promises in writing as everyone claims that they will fulfil the promises when they come to power but do nothing. Everyday the Congress ministers also go by this protest spot but they never bother to ask these teachers what condition they are in,” said one of them.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.