The decision to suspend the agitation was taken after receiving a positive response from the state government in regard to their demands, said Joseph R Hmar, information and publicity, ATSUM at a press conference held today at its office at Old Lambulane in Imphal.
Mention may be made that the ATSUM started a series of month-long agitations during the current month.
Before the announcement of the suspension, the general strike reportedly partially paralysed life in some parts of the hill areas of the state even though there was no impact of the strike in Imphal.
No passengers buses plyed on the inter-district roads and NH-53 and 39 owing to the general strike.
In Tamenglong district, as reported by our correspondent, shops and other establishments including government offices remained closed and no passenger buses from Imphal arrived at the district headquarters for the day.
Meanwhile, ATSUM spokesperson Joseph, while announcing suspension of the stir and boycott of the state Patriots’ Day and Independence Day with immediate effect, said that the government had agreed to the revision of its decision regarding the cancellation of grant-in-aid to the aided schools along with extension of services of contract teachers in the hill schools.
He informed that the state government had extended the services of the 1198 contract teachers from September 1 to December 31 of the current year.
In the press conference, Joseph observed that the state education department was a department riddled with problems and if the head of the department did not handle it with care, more problems would be created.
Most of the problems in the department were its own creation due to lack of efficiency in handling the problems in time.
He said the state government engaged teachers (265 science graduates, 484 arts graduates, 20 Hindi graduates, 100 Hindi matriculates and 150 primary) on the basis of its own assessment report of shortage of teaching staff in the government schools in the hill areas.
But considering the salaries given to them, the authority did not extend the engagement period, he charged adding that now after the ATSUM agitated against it, the state authorities had extended the engagement period.
On the other hand, Joseph said the state government had decided to cease extension of grant-in-aid to the aided schools located in the hills on the basis of number of students in the said schools but the same action was not taken on the aided schools in the valley area despite less number of students.
As for instance, he observed, the Keithelmanbi Junior High School having classes from Standard I to VII, had only 158 students even though it should have at least 240 under the norms for the aided schools. But the school was not included in the list of the affected schools.
Likewise, he produced various datas of aided schools which had less number of students but were still not included in the list of affected schools.
The state government extended grant-in-aid to the aided schools under Manipur education code 1982 of the rule framed in 1977. But the rule said that in every class of each aided school there must be 20 students each in the hills and 30 in the valley schools.
While talking on the matter of reservation in the Manipur University, the ATSUM president had a talk with chief minister, O Ibobi Singh over phone, he said.
The chief minister had assured that a team comprising representatives of the students body and state government, led by himself (chief minister), would go to Delhi and press the Prime Minister within this week.
If there could be no amicable solution at the meeting the ATSUM would resume its stir which includes indefinite economic blockade on the highways from August 18, closure of government schools from August 25, protest rally at Delhi on August 30 till their demand on the reservation issue is resolved, he added.