Actor Chatterjee urges WB govt to resolve teachers' strike

Kolkata, July 25 (IANS) With a section of striking primary teachers in West Bengal remaining adamant, noted Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee on Thursday urged the government to resolve the matter soon.

Members of Usti Primary Teachers' Association (UPTA) had been agitating in Salt Lake area for more than a week demanding salary hike and the revocation of transfer orders of 14 primary teachers.

Chatterjee said: "The incident of primary teachers' sitting on indefinite hunger strike is extremely sad and shameful. I strongly condemn the situation. On grounds of humanity, I request the government to immediately hold discussions with the protesting teachers and listen to their demands before anything untoward takes place".

West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee during an event on Thursday held a meeting with a teacher's association affiliated to the ruling party.

The minister said that the pay scale will have Rs 3,200 as the minimum slab and there is an effort to make it Rs 3,600. Also, the issue of the transfer of the teachers will be dealt with.

In West Bengal primary teachers have been receiving a salary in the pay scale of Rs 5,400-Rs 25,200 for years, while the scale is between Rs 9,300 and Rs 34,800 elsewhere in the country.

Asked if the protesting teachers are satisfied with the development, a representative of the protesting teacher said: "One must understand that there are three divisions of primary teachers - head, trained and untrained. He should clarify the grade pay accordingly and I feel he (Partha Chatterjee) is trying to dilute the solution".

Regarding the 14 transfers, the education minister tried to reason out saying that the places where there is a shortage of teachers, transfer to that place is very obvious.

"I can guarantee that after the transfer from one school the seat has been given to other teachers. This transfer was completed on grounds of political differences," the UPTA member alleged.

--IANS

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