File photo of protesters taking out a march demanding pay hike.
Kolkata: The indefinite fast by a section of primary teachers in West Bengal seeking a pay hike entered the 13th day on Thursday even as state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee assured them that the government was looking for a solution to the impasse.
The agitators, under the banner of Usthi United Primary Teachers' Welfare Association, have also sought the revocation of a state government order transferring 14 of their colleagues to faraway places.
Pritha Biswas, the spokesperson of the association, said the teachers are waiting for an official communication from the government on the matter. "To this date, there has been no official communication from the state regarding our demands. We only get to hear the comments made by the education minister during his interactions with mediapersons," Biswas said on Thursday.
Chatterjee had told reporters on Wednesday that the state government will certainly think about "hiking the pay scale of the primary teachers, keeping in mind two factors - their educational qualification and the fiscal condition of state exchequer". He accused the BJP and the CPI(M) of "unnecessarily politicising the issue for personal gains" "Political parties of different hues are visiting the agitating teachers and taking political advantage of the situation," the minister had said.
Earlier, Chatterjee had said that raising the pay scale to the level the agitating teachers had been demanding would incur huge expense on the state exchequer. Biswas, however, said that the fast would continue till the state agrees to fulfill the twin demands.
"We want an official communication from the education ministry. Till then, the movement will continue," she said. A member of the association said primary teachers are paid between Rs 9,300 and Rs 34,800 elsewhere in the country, while in West Bengal the salary ranges between Rs 5,400-Rs 25,200.