The West Bengal government on Friday formed a committee to look into the grievances of aspiring school teachers who were on relay hunger strike for 23 days demanding recruitment to vacant posts in state-run institutes.
Education Minister Partha Chatterjee met representatives of the 200 aspiring school teachers who are on an indefinite dharna in the city since February 28.
Chatterjee later told reporters that a five-member committee comprising the School Service Commission (SSC) chairman and school education department officials have been formed to look into the demands of the candidates.
The agitators will submit their demands to the panel in the next two days after which it will examine the issues and come out with a formula, the minister said.
Chatterjee said he had met the agitating aspiring teachers four times in the past.
The agitators were claiming that a large number of teachers’ posts were lying vacant but the authorities were not calling them for interview though they have the requisite qualifications.
Maintaining that merit will be given top most priority to the SSC candidates, Chatterjee said, “The SSC strictly adheres to the stipulated guidelines.”
“Still, if there is some specific complaints, that will be examined. The aggrieved candidates can register their complaints with the committee,” he said.
To a question, the minister said the SSC will update the vacancy figure about teachers’ posts soon.
Chatterjee said while the government would adopt a humane approach towards the agitators, “they should not be used by any political group to suit its own interest. Nor should any political group give false promises to undeserving candidates.”
Continuing the dharna and relay fast on Mayo Road since February 28 under the banner of the SSC Yuva-Chhatra Adhikar Manch, many had fallen sick, affected by dengue and blood dysentery, said Tania Seth, one of the agitators.
“We will give in writing to the committee our demands and how we had been deprived despite passing the written SSC test, but our agitation will continue,” Seth said.
Arpita Das of North Dinajpur and Subodh Halder of Birbhum had to be taken to hospital from the sit-in venue on Wednesday, Seth said.
The Manch organised a mass convention on Wednesday near the venue where filmmaker Anik Dutta and actor Badshah Maitra criticised the state government for delay in recruitment of teachers. Poet Sankha Ghosh had in a message expressed solidarity with the agitators.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the RSS, also slammed the authorities for doing precious little to end the impasse.