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Thursday, May 31, 2012

School Teachers Seek Permission from President of India to Court Death Following 'Deprivation'


Malda, 31 May: Nine teachers and the non teaching staffs of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) School have sent a petition to the President of India to allow them to court death voluntarily as they are allegedly subjected to formidable deprivation by the NTPC authorities and the state government over decades. 

The school was founded in 1986 by the NTPC authorities at the Permanent Township (Pubarun) with an eye to providing education to the wards of the NTPC employees at a convenient location. It was undertaken by the then General Manager (GM) of the NTPC Ltd Mr K Radhakrishnan that “no financial help from the state government would be required at any time and that the scales of pay of the staff of this school will be the same/not less than as have been introduced by the state government for non-government schools.” Presently, the school is running with about 500 students though it had once strength of 1500 students. The guardians alleged that the school authorities had hiked the students’ fees indiscriminately. 

                                                                                     (file photo)

However, the pay scales of the staffs were not revised since 1990. The staff council of the school sought assistance from all corners including the Prime Minister and the chief minister but in vain. Sources informed that Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee also intervened into the matter and requested the Union power ministry to provide redress to the school employees but that also did not bring forth any result. On the contrary, the NTPC authorities handed over the administrative part of the school to the DAV school authorities on lease, which the teachers vehemently protested against also.

It has been learnt that even letters were sent to the state education department from the office of the Prime Minister, Union human resources development (HRD) ministry and the National Human Rights Commission but the matter has not been resolved. A number of enquiry committees also suggested that the state government should take up the liabilities of the staff salary of the school, sources said. But the teachers didn’t get the redress.

Finally, nine employees sent a petition to the President of India drawing her attention to their long standing plight and sought permission so that they can end their lives voluntarily as they are left with no other option.

Dr TN Singh, on behalf of the teachers, said, “We’re now in a desperate state. Either the government provides us with redress or we would have to court death voluntarily.” “We have been fighting for the dues necessary for minimum living but the neither the NTPC authorities nor the state government has paid any heed to our plea. Hence, we, as the last resort, sought the intervention of the President of India,” Dr Singh said.

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