A contrast of sorts! The lower primary school teachers in the government sector in Assam get thousands of rupees as salaries. On the contrary, their counterparts in the tea garden-run schools get daily wages at par with tea-plucking workers. Strangely enough, the state Labour Commission was oblivious of this till recently.
The tea garden management authorities run around 399 primary schools in the state. Each of 400 teachers working in these schools gets remuneration at the rate of Rs 204 per day at par with the daily wage of a tea-plucking worker. And the teachers have to stand in the same queue with tea labourers at the weekend to take their remunerations.
A few days back, a delegation of the Assam Tea Tribe Students’ Association (AATSA) met the Labour Commissioner in Guwahati. The AATSA sought the intervention of the Labour Commissioner into the issue. The Labour Commissioner let the student leaders know that he was oblivious of the plight of the LP teachers in tea gardens.
It’s better late than never. At long last, the delegation from the ATTSA has made the Labour Commission gear up on the issue. The Labour Commission office has sought information like the post (permanent or casual), their pay structures, dates of appointment, names of teachers and the names of schools etc., from the management authorities of tea gardens.
Talking to The Sentinel, AATTSA president Dhiraj Gowala said, “We are deeply concerned about such a mean activity practised by the tea garden management authorities towards the teachers of the schools. Around 400 teachers serving in tea garden-run primary schools get daily wages the same as the workers of tea gardens. The infrastructure and other facilities of such schools are also pathetic. They are not at par with the basic facilities mandatory for schools as per government rules and guidelines.
“We urge the Labour Commissioner to intervene in the matter. We also demand provisions for bringing the school teachers’ posts in the upgrade employees’ category and provide them with the Basic Grade Salary and other facilities as per rules and norms of the tea garden employees.
“How can the quality of education in tea gardens improve if the teachers face such a plight? Inspectors of schools inspect government schools. On the contrary, the labour inspectors inspect the tea garden-run schools”.