Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday appealed to the Centre to immediately release the funds in order to clear the pending salaries of over 12,547 Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) teachers in the state.
“I appeal to the government of India that they should release this at the earliest,” Sangma told reporters.
He said all the Chief Ministers and state governments are also pressurizing the government of India in this regard.
“It is not a problem or an issue that is specific to Meghalaya. It is an all-India problem. All chief ministers and education ministers have continuously been following it up with the Education department in Delhi and we are expecting to get some response from them,” he added.
The Chief Minister’s statement also came a day after thousands of SSA teachers took to the streets to protest against the non-release of their over 5-6 month salary besides demand for regularization and salary enhancement.
The SSA teachers have also demanded the immediate step down of the incumbent education minister Lahkmen Rymbui alleging that he is not fit to head the department.
He said that SSA teachers in other states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Assam have also not been paid for the last 5-6 months.
Sangma further informed, “Our education minister had gone and met the education department officials and government of India two days back, so he has made some way forward, so we are hopeful that we’ll get some relief.”
Reminding that 90 percent of the fund for implementation of the SSA scheme comes from the Central government, the chief minister said that it is a huge challenge for the state government to pay the SSA teachers from its own pocket.
“Today we have about five-six months pending salary which roughly is about Rs 150 crores. Therefore it is not possible for the state government to shell that money out even in advance since it’s a large amount,” he stated.