MANGALURU: In Navoor, a remote village at the foothills of Western Ghats, Vanitha works as a teacher. On walking to the government school, she works like any other teacher till evening, and has been diligently doing her duty without salary for ten months! And just like her, 22 teachers appointed under naxal area development package have not received their salary for 10 months in the academic year 2015-16!
At a time when highly paid professionals protest against discrimination in salary scales Vanitha and 21 other teachers of naxal affected villages on Dakshina Kannada continue to teach in their respecive schools though they have not received a rupee from the government since June 2015.
Officials said salary could not be released to these teachers as the state government has not released funds for naxal area development projects during the last financial year.
"Members of my family ask me why I am still teaching when the government does not pay salary. Teaching is considered a noble profession and thus I continue to teach in the same school where I was once a student. I am hopeful that we will get our salary as our MLA Vasanth Bangera has been toiling on our behalf.
We have been working as teachers since 2011 after government the decided to appoint local teachers in schools in naxal infested villages and had fixed Rs 5,000 as salary. But over the last 10 months we have not received any salary. We have sent memorandum to officials and elected representatives," says Vanitha.
Besides, cancellation of naxal package has led to unemployment of 18 youth of Malekudiya community who were appointed as Home Guards. "The government had assured to provide employment to youth of naxal infested areas. But now the package has been stopped pushing these youth to unemployment.
The salary of the teachers has to be released immediately and government should accord priority while appointing permanent teachers," activists and Adivasi Hakkugala Samanvaya Samithi leader Shekhar Laila, who has been working for the cause of teachers and Home Guards, said adding “The youth who were removed from Home Guards too should be reinstated immediately. They should be appointed by the police department on priority," he demanded.
MLA pays from his pocket
Mr Vasanth Bangera, MLA, has not only written to officials and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on payment of salaries to these teachers but has personally helped them as well.
“Mr Bangera has given a total of about Rs 2 lakh from his pocket to these teachers. Each teacher has received particular amount of money to ensure that they do not face any problem. He has asked us to return when we get our salary. He has also promised to get the salary released at the earliest," remarked one of the teachers....