Para teachers demand salary hike, protest in canal near Bengal CM's residence

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(Eds: Minor edits, updates) Kolkata, Feb 16 (PTI) A section of para teachers on Tuesday staged a unique protest near the high-security zone of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's residence, stepping into a canal to press for a salary hike.

The group of contractual teachers of government-run schools in the state held placards in the portion of the waterbody in front of Banerjee's residence in Kalighat area, officials said.

The protesters were later dispersed by police and disaster management personnel, they said.

Seven people have been arrested, a police officer said.

Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra and other senior officials have taken stock of the situation at the spot, where security has been beefed up following the incident.

Contractual teachers have been holding a sit-in in the metropolis for more than 70 days, demanding immediate wage revision.

Banerjee had recently announced a three per cent annual pay hike for para teachers in the state budget, but they asserted the raise is not enough.

The education department had increased the salary of para teachers at the primary level from Rs 5,954 to Rs 10,000 a month, and for those at the higher secondary level from Rs 8,500 to Rs 13,000.

With the assembly elections round the corner, it has snowballed into a major political issue with the opposition BJP and Left Front accusing the ruling Trinamool Congress of turning a blind eye to the plea of the para teachers. PTI DC SCH RBT RBT