For the over 12,000 SSA school teachers in Meghalaya, this holiday season appears to look ominous as they are yet to be paid their salaries of five months by the state government.
“We have not been given any sort of response by the Meghalaya education department or the government itself. We are at our wits end on what to do as Christmas is just a few days away and we have families to provide for,” said Bunbunbirth Marak, publicity secretary of All Garo Hills SSA School Teachers’ Association (AGHSSASTA), the SSA school teachers’ association from Garo Hills.
Earlier, the MSSASTA too had announced its boycott of all government related activities, including plantation drives, election duties among other things over the government’s continued cold shoulder to their condition.
Christmas in Meghalaya has been mostly gloomy this year with finances taking a hit due to the ongoing pandemic situation. Markets in most of the towns are yet to pick up as people shied away from holiday spending.
“We have not been paid since August this year. We pray no one goes through the same situation as we do but this has to end. The government has to pay us what is our rightful due,” added Marak.
The AGHSSASTA had earlier threatened a 2-day hunger strike on the eve of Christmas in front of the Tura MP Agatha Sangma, chief minister Conrad Sangma’s residence as well as in other places. However, the district administration allows them to protest only at the Tura Law College ground.
“We will be holding a meeting tomorrow (December 22) on the matter and take a call on what to do next. We are unhappy with the situation we have been put in. How do we provide for our families with an empty pocket? This year we will not have any holiday cheer as there is nothing to cheer for with our current financial position,” said another SSA teacher.