NEARLY A week after several teachers, including four women teachers, tonsured their heads at a protest venue in Bhopal, the Madhya Pradesh government on Sunday provided relief to more than 2.84 lakh schoolteachers.
The schoolteachers had been protesting for a long time in support of their demand that their different cadres be merged in the education department so that that they enjoy facilities enjoyed by regular teachers.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made the announcement when office-bearers of different unions that had been leading the protests called on him at his residence. The teachers will be governed by a transfer policy, seniority and maternal leave for women teachers among other facilities that they did not enjoy so far.
The government did not immediately announce the burden on the state exchequer. The CM did not elaborate when the agitating teachers will get the benefits but claimed a historical injustice done to them was being addressed.
The opposition Congress that had extended support to the protests criticised the government for the delay. Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said the announcement was first made by Uma Bharati in the run-up to the elections in 2003 but it took the government 14 years to fulfill the promise.
The party also reminded the government that the announcement was made when electoral code of conduct is in place ahead of by-elections to Mungaoli and Kolaras assembly constituencies. The party alleged that only two associations of protesting teachers who are ideologically close to the BJP were called to the CM House but not teachers who had shaved their heads in protest.