Minister opposes tribal students' decision to call economic blockade

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Imphal, Jul 03 (UNI) Manipur Education Minister L Jayantakumar Singh has criticised the decision of the All Manipur Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) to boycott the state education and tribal development departments and impose economic blockade on two National Highways on July 10.

Mr Singh said the state government had been trying to fulfill the demands of the students by appointing teachers.

''There is no of shortage of teachers in schools right from the primary level to the higher secondary level,'' he said.

He further said more than 60 per cent of the appointed teachers were from the Scheduled Tribes and the government had been working for the welfare of the tribal students.

He said the teachers were also reluctant to serve in the hill areas owing to harassment by militants.

The ATSUM called an economic blockade on July 10 to protest the alleged failure of the state government to increase reservation for SC/ST students, Joseph Hmar of the ATSUM said.

As a part of the agitation, economic blockade will be imposed on two National Highways of Manipur - NH 39 and 53 - and all government establishments in the hill districts, except schools and colleges, will be boycotted.

The boycott will also cover the Directorate of Education (Hills sections) and Directorate of Tribal Development in Imphal.

The government had assured to pursue for increase of SC/ST reservation quota in Manipur University and establish a separate university for tribal people in Manipur.

The government had also promised to extend the service of contract basis teachers.

However, officials said Manipur University was a central university and central norms on reservation were followed and the state government had no hand in the administration of the University.

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