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Bihar teachers say not our job to sell midday meal sacks; to hold protest

On July 22, Bihar midday meal director Satish Chandra Jha had issued an order asking each district programme officer to have empty gunny bags sold at a rate of Rs 10 per piece, and to deposit the amount with the government.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
Updated: August 12, 2021 7:28:33 am

Given the responsibility of selling empty gunny bags after their use in the midday meal scheme, Bihar teacher associations have decided to protest at all district headquarters against the government order. They will also protest the resultant suspension of a school teacher from Katihar.

On July 22, Bihar midday meal director Satish Chandra Jha had issued an order asking each district programme officer to have empty gunny bags sold at a rate of Rs 10 per piece, and to deposit the amount with the government.

The order came after the principal accountant general sought details of gunny bags used for the midday meal scheme in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

Last week, a Katihar teacher, Mohammed Tamizuddin, was seen in a video walking with gunny bags on his head and urging people to buy his bags. Or else, he was heard saying in the video which was shared widely, his salary could be deducted. Tamizuddin was later suspended for “violating” panchayat teachers’ conduct rules.

Bihar Primary School Teachers’ Association president Brajnandan Sharma said: “We have held a meeting with our various associations and decided to hold protests against the suspension of the teacher…. We are (also) protesting against the government’s order to teachers to sell bags at block headquarters on August 13, and at the district headquarters on August 16.”

State Additional Chief Secretary, Education, Sanjay Kumar told The Indian Express, “There is nothing wrong with the MDM director’s order. Teachers are not asked to sell gunny bags like one saw in a viral video — they can engage kabadiwals…”

But State Middle School Teachers’ Association spokesperson Abhishek Kumar sad that the “primary identity of teachers” must be maintained. Many states have dissociated teachers from the scheme, he added.

Brajnandan Sharma said: “It is not a teacher’s job to sell gunny bags. (But in Bihar) teachers have been engaged more in non-teaching work than their main job of imparting education.”

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