By Francis Khongwar
Shillong ( Meghalaya), March 10 : The issue of the pending salaries of the SSA school teachers dominated much of the proceedings in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly today, March 10, with members from different political parties urging the government to look into their plight.
Lahkemn Rymbui, Minister in-charge of the education department said, the state government would soon release two months pending salaries of SSA teachers. He further informed the House that the issue of SSA teachers is very complex and the problems were inherited from the past.
Replying to a Short Duration discussion moved by Himalaya Shangpliang from the opposition Trinamool Congress on the plight of the SSA teachers, he said, in states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram the SSA teachers fall under the state education department.
However, in Meghalaya the SSA teachers are appointed in various schools run by religious institutions, NGOs, private parties and community based schools.
The recruitment and appointment authorities are the school managing committees and the state government is the funding agency and depends on the fund released by the Government of India. Rymbui further added that the fund release from the centre is a lengthy process.
Stating that the state government never diverts the fund for the SSA teachers, Rymbui while expressing deep concern for being unable to release their pending five month said, the state government is trying to examine the complex subject and would come up with a permanent solution soon.
In all, Meghalaya has 14,694 schools, out of which there are 5166 SSA schools. In these SSA schools there are 12541 teachers with an additional 1521 fourth teachers.
Earlier, Rymbui, replying to a Zero Hour notice moved by Shanpliang to bring at par the salaries of the fourth SSA teachers with other SSA teachers, said, under the SSA there are provisions for only three teachers, but the state has the fourth teacher.
Rymbui said that the matter to enhance the salaries of the fourth teachers is under consideration and has not fallen on deaf ears. He added the total amount paid by the state government towards salaries of the fourth teachers’ amounts to Rs. 21.90 crore rupees per annum.
Stating that there are financial constraints and there are challenges however, the state government is working to enhance the salaries of not just the fourth teachers in SSA schools, but all categories of teachers in the state.