Imphal, Jul 2: State education minister L Jayantakumar Singh has denounced the stand of the All Manipur Tribal Students’ Union Manipur to boycott the state education minister and launch an economic blockade along the national highways in the state from 6 am of July 10.
L Jayantakumar during a press conference held this afternoon at the New Secretariat mentioned that the state government from time to time had been trying to fulfill the demands of the students organisations mainly from the hills by appointing teachers to meet the shortage particularly for schools in the hill districts.
Appointment of teachers either on contract basis or part-time was conducted by the state in the interest of the various government schools in hill districts.
There was no question of shortage of teachers in various schools right from the primary level to the higher secondary level at present as per the rationalisation of appointed teachers, he said.
The education minister further said the state government was now fully aware of the fact that the newly appointed teachers and those who have been transfered to various schools in the hill districts were reluctant to serve in hill districts.
More than 60 percent of the appointed teachers are from the scheduled tribe communities and the state government have made proper arrangements for the appointed teachers to extend their services to the respective districts and villages, but failure to respond to the government order and attempts of the newly appointed scheduled tribe teachers’ to get posted in the valley districts were causing problems.
The minister further said it was not justified for ATSUM to take such steps against the state government which had been working in the better interest of the tribal students with an aim to achieve uniformity in education. The government had been giving priority to the hill districts on many instances, he said.
The volunteers of the ATSUM had failed to verify the reality of functioning of various schools in the hill districts and were charging the state government of neglecting the schools in the hills.
He said as of now the state government was of the view that there was no question of shortage of teachers in the schools in the hill districts.
Many non-local teachers in the hill districts schools were harassed by underground elements and even by the school heads by deducting money illegally from their salaries and even physically torturing them, he said while asking if it would be right for the ATSUM to remain silent over such complaints which the government was receiving.
The minister citing an example said that one assistant Hindi matriculate teacher of Poi High School in Ukhrul district identified as Ningthoujan Sanatomba Singh who has been working regularly for the last nine years in the school as assistant teacher was subjected to heavy loss by deducting several amounts from his salary by the headmaster of the school.
The minister further said that as per the official complaint lodged by the assistant teacher to the director, education(S) recently, it was said that the headmaster of Poi High School had deducted a total of Rs. 11,850 out of the salary amount of Rs. 31,656 for the four months of March, April, May and June in the current year.
The assistant teacher enclosed a voucher which explained the reasons for deducting the amount from his salary as Rs. 2750 for the underground oufit operating in the area, Rs. 2000 per month for signing of bank draft by the headmaster for withdrawing monthly salaries and Rs. 10, 806 for the construction of a church.
The assistant Hindi teacher who had been serving in the interest of the students as well as for the welfare of the village has now sought termination or immediate transfer from the school in order to avoid both mental and physical torture, the minister said.
Several similar cases cases had been reported officially to the state government, the minister claimed while asking why the pressure student groups from the tribal community were not trying to find out the ground reality of what was happening in the interiors rather than sitting in Imphal and relying on second hand reports from their acquaintances.
The minister further appealed to the tribal student bodies to come forward and make genuine attempts to uplift the tribal student community without any bias.