In a first of its kind protest, the staff of the prestigious Sainik School in Kerala’s Kazhakootam on Tuesday held a protest before the main gate of the school against the state government’s denial of salary, pension, and retirement benefits to them.
The crux of the issue is while the Kerala government meets most of the school’s expenditure, with practically no financial participation from the Centre, the Centre runs the school.
And as a result, the school is being sustained by utilising its reserve funds and temporary aids on adhoc basis.
The salary for December to the staff was paid in two instalments, which has irked the employees of this premier education institution and the salary for January is yet to be credited.
Set up in 1962 by the then Defence Minister V.K. Krishna Menon, the school has churned out over 800 officers for the defence forces and numerous others who have excelled in various spheres of life, but the school of late is facing issues of liquidity.
Incidentally the biggest lacunae of the functioning of the school is the pension and salaries of the staff is met from the fees of the school students and despite numerous representations from the school, and its alumni, demanding infusing of funds from the Centre, the only thing that has happened is proposal from the Centre to the first Pinarayi Vijayan Kerala government, seeking it take over the burden of pensions and retirement benefits of the employees.
But nothing has happened even after the then Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and Vijayan agreed to the proposal almost a year ago and the agreement is yet to be signed.
“We have done no wrong, but we are the ones who have been suffering and despite numerous representations, we continue to suffer as our only income is the salary which we get,” said a protesting staff member.
Meanwhile according to a source in the know of things, the strike of the staff has come to the notice of the people who matter in the Sainik School Society, which runs the Sainik Schools across the country, and a sum of Rs 2.77 crore is being released and the Principal has been so intimated.