MANGALDAI, Sept 19 - The introduction of an Aadhaar-linked biometric attendance system by the Darrang district administration to monitor the attendance in government offices and schools has drawn flak from two organisations of school teachers � Mangaldai Mahkuma Prathamik Sikshak Sanmilani and Darrang Zila Majaliya Vidyalaya Sikshak Santha.
The two organisations have expressed resentment over the issue in two separate memorandums to the Deputy Commissioner. The Sikshak Sanmilani has also threatened to return all biometric attendance devices to the authorities.
In the memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner on September 6, Sikshak Sanmilani president Pawan Kumar Jha and secretary Bijay Deka stated that though at the beginning they had welcomed the decision to introduce biometric attendance system, recently some problems and directives surrounding the system have led to mental harassment for the teacher community.
They said that due to faulty devices and poor telecom network, majority of teachers have to rush to other nearby schools with functioning devices for timely registration of attendance, and sometime have to wait in long queues, thereby depriving their students of classes. The teachers fear that their monthly salary will be withheld by the Treasury department as per a verbal order of the Deputy Commissioner following failure of attendance registration.
The memorandum also stated their previous memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner in August 19 where the teachers� body had underlined 15 demands, including replacement of the defunct poor quality devices with good quality ones, ensuring smooth telecom network, and free of cost and hassle free Aadhaar registration for all unregistered teachers. However, the authorities failed to address even a single demand.
On the other hand, on the pretext of not getting attendance in the biometric attendance system, the Treasury department, referring to the verbal order of the Deputy Commissioner, has refused to accept the salary bills of the regular teachers for the month of August 2019, even though there is no such order from the Finance department or the State government.
The Sikshak Sanmilani also demanded reintroduction of the earlier conventional attendance system till the other demands are met.
The organisation has requested the Deputy Commissioner to address their problems by September 20, failing which the teachers� body would return the substandard biometric attendance devices to the respective Block Education Office.
Bishnu Rai Sharma and Nausad Ali, president and secretary of the Darrang Zila Majaliya Vidyalaya Sikshak Santha, also met the Deputy Commissioner on September 13 and submitted a memorandum with similar demands.
On being contacted over the issue, District Elementary Education Officer Dr Jowahira Tabassom told this correspondent that the Deputy Commissioner has made several communications with her in this regard, following which she met the Managing Director of the Samagra Siksha Abhijan, Assam, for early solution to the problem of biometric devices.
According to office bearers of the teachers� bodies, biometric devices were installed in around 1,200 primary schools of the district around 15 months ago for attendance registration. A few months ago, the district administration reportedly through some social media directives made Aadhaar-linking attendance registration mandatory for all employees of government departments, including teachers.