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After infant's death, Punjab agrees to give jobs to EGS teachers

Posted on Feb 09 2014 | IANS

Chandigarh, Feb 9 : Days after the death of the child of a protesting teacher, the Punjab government Sunday agreed to revive an old scheme under which the education guarantee scheme (EGS) teachers in the state would be given jobs, a senior official said here.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who met leaders of the EGS teachers' union here Sunday, agreed to revive centrally sponsored schemes to give jobs to the jobless EGS and other such category teachers.

Badal also agreed to hike the consolidated honorarium for these teachers from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 per month.

The financial burden of the decision will be borne by the Punjab government, said Harcharan Bains, advisor to the chief minister, here.

Eknoor, who was 14 months old, died Feb 6 in Bathinda, where her mother was part of a protest by EGS teachers. Her parents alleged that she died due to the prevailing cold as police and local authorities took away blankets and quilts of the protestors and also did not allow them to pitch tents.

The state government and health authorities in Bathinda Saturday denied that the infant died due to cold and the apathy of the local administration. They claimed that the child died of malnutrition and other health complications.

The protestors had refused to cremate the infant and had kept her body in a glass freezer at their protest site.

The EGS and other teachers have been protesting for over four years, seeking that they be given jobs.

However, Bains said that the "impasse" created by the withdrawal by the central government of its schemes which resulted in an agitation by the affected volunteers was brought to "an amicable end" with the state government agreeing to bear the burden of the concerned schemes as 'special state funded schemes' for a period of two years.

Badal Sunday met the delegation of EGS Volunteers Association led by its President Madan Lal here.

Bains claimed that the problem for the EGS teachers had been created by the "whimsical and cruel decisions" of the central government, "which had floated these schemes but had later suddenly pulled its hands back from them without care or concern for the future of the affected volunteers and children".

Hundreds of volunteers under the EGS and two other schemes were rendered jobless after the central government withdrew the scheme in 2008.

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