Gangtok, 18 Feb:
Aggrieved members of All Sikkim Adhoc & Temporary Employees Association [ASATEA] seeking service regularization among other demands occupied the National Highway here on Monday to press for their demands. This, within a week of their talks with the Human Resource Development Department having gone to their satisfaction. However, convinced that the Department was not looking into their demands in earnest, the ASATEA took to the streets again today.
Vehicular traffic was disrupted for hours when adhoc teachers moved from Deorali and then sat in protest at Sisa Golai. Adhoc teachers finally dispersed at around 5:30 in the evening on receiving an assurance from HRDD.
Earlier in the day, the HRDD had also issued a notification announcing that adhoc teachers who meet the NCTE norms and have been on the job uninterrupted for five years or more will be processed for regularization and extend the services of other adhoc teachers for two years.
The HRDD notification issued on 18 Feb on the demand of Adhoc teachers:
“The government has deemed its expedient to consider the demands of adhoc teachers of government schools of Sikkim for service regularisation and extension of adhoc services in public interest. Now, therefore, the government is pleased to decide that services of those adhoc teachers who have completed five years of un-interrupted service and are qualified as per NCTE norms will be regularised after the scrutiny of their documents and others formalities as my be required in line with the NCTE norms. The government is further please to extend the adhoc service of existing adhoc teachers for a period of two years and regular appointment whichever is earlier, in public interest and to ensure that the functioning of the school is normal and regular.”
The protesting teachers, however, had problems with the manner in which the notification was worded and also decided to continue with the protest since the notification made no mention of non-teaching adhoc staff or the fate of adhoc language teachers.
Earlier, the adhoc teachers had started the rally from Deorali.
Although the police tried to stop the rally at different spots along the way, the teachers kept pushing through until finally the police stopped them at Sisa Golai.
Since traffic was disrupted at this spot, vehicles were diverted to Nam Nang and Arithang, but these are barely serviceable roads for the kind of traffic the National Highway receives and delays ran into hours for commuters.
Senior police officials and District Collector [East] arrived at the spot and appealed to the teachers to clear the highway and eventually, after two hours of complete blockade, the spot was opened enough for one-way traffic.
Later, HRDD officials also reached the spot and tried to convince the protesting teachers that their demands were being met, but the teachers did not budge.
The DC [East] also read out the notification issued by the department to adhoc teachers.
However, the teachers remained unsatisfied, claiming that the notification was not clear and was not specific enough for all adhoc teachers.
They asked the department to write in the “simple language” and not “diplomatic”.
They also asked the department to properly explain the word ‘un-interrupted’ in the notification.
They alleged that the notification was worded to mislead adhoc teachers.
Later in the evening, HRDD officials again visited the spot and informed that service extension orders would be issued on 20 February along with the scrutiny of regularization process.
There appears to be some miscommunication in this regard since some teachers believe that the regularisation order itself will be issued on 20 February.
“We will go to the HRDD on 20 February and if this would be a false assurance again then we will take our movement more aggressively and more will join our movement,” they said. They also stated that adhoc teachers will have a meeting tomorrow to discuss the future strategy.