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Teachers never grow old: A great tribute by Mamata Banerjee in a historic professors convention in Kolkata
Hon'ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee paid a great tribute to teachers of College and University in the State Level Convention, 2017 at the Indoor Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

Great words for teachers in general! She won the hearts of the teachers who had not expected so much that she gave and announced in an affectionate and concerned tone. She looked confident in raising the standard of higher education in the state, nay the country. Her Viswa Bangla University concept is simply unique.

What the so–called teacher friendly Left government could not do, the Trinamul government led by Smt Mamata Banerjee has finally done. What DA, what Health Scheme or what LTC benefits she announced are not important, but the respect she showed for teachers and the profession is rare in the history of governance in India. It is really a surprising bonanza for the teachers engaged in higher education in West Bengal. While Modi government in the name of demonetisation is making people poor and poorer standing like street dogs and beggars before ATMs and bank counters to withdraw their own hard earned money, and adamant on revenging the state governments that do not follow their dictates, it is a rare gesture for the Mamata government to declare so much for the teachers in the midst of a financial crisis.

The Indoor Stadium never saw this historic convention of College and University teachers earlier. The whole stadium was jam packed and the words spoken by Mamata Banerjee were mixed with affection, regards and concern. This is an amazing Saturday for the teachers who were long shown the carrot of 62 by the earlier government that poses to be very friendly with teachers. Shrutinath Praharaj, the Secretary of WBCUTA who during the reign of their own Left front government was against 62, now goes on trying to impress that 65 is the long demand of the teachers. But their Left front government did not do any thing. They were trying to abolish English from primary education and were more concerned with those things.

Among the announced benefits the most remarkable was the increase of the retirement age to 62. It is a rare gesture to grant LTC to the teachers for national tours after 10 years of service and international tours after 20 years of service. Then the inclusion of teachers in the state health scheme is another masterstroke. In this Swasthya Sathi scheme, the part time lecturers will also be included and medical insurance up to Rs five lakh will be given to each teacher.

In this historic convention announcement was made for a new Viswa Bangla University at Bolpur, at a location renamed Gitabitan, which is very close to Shantiniketan. She wants no brain drain to occur and students not to leave for Harvard or Oxford or Chicago when we can set up universities of that standards.

In this State Convention, 2017, the Chief Minister wonderfully retorted: "Bengal's brain is a cultural brain and not a criminal brain. She looked vibrant when she said her government established so many new colleges and universities in this short time of their rule and specially some for women only. The Trinamul government has already increased the budget for education from 111.74 crore to Rs 471 crore in four years.

About the author: Dr Ratan Bhattacharjee was recently honoured as one of the national poets of Indian English Literature at the International Multi-Lingual Poetry Meet at Vijayawada by Hon'ble Chief Minister, Sri Chandrababu Naidu. He is at present serving as the Associate Professor and Head of the Post Graduate Department of English, Dum Dum Motijheel College and Guest Faculty at the Rabindra Bharati University. He is an eminent book reviewer for The Telegraph and The Statesman and a columnist with The Sentinel,The Shillong Times and Dainik Statesman.

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