GUWAHATI, May 22 - Welcoming the formation of an economic advisory task force by the government to deal with post COVID-19 economic challenges of the State, the Gauhati University Teachers’ Association (GUTA) has opined that both the State government and the task force should hold consultations with the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and its adviser Akhil Gogoi who have the experience of working for one and a half decades with the peasants at the grassroots. The GUTA opinion emerged at its executive meeting held recently, said a delayed press release issued here.
GUTA said that since the challenges posed by COVID-19 warrant setting aside of political differences and working together for the good of society, the State government ought to release Akhil Gogoi and his associates – who have been in jail for more than five months now – as a goodwill gesture.
The GUTA executive meeting also deliberated at length on various issues emanating from the challenges brought about by the corona pandemic and observed that the prolonged closure of the educational institutions is going to have a long-term adverse impact on the academic pursuits of the State’s student community.
“GUTA observed with concern that during the pandemic the lack of equal and adequate infrastructure to cater to the needs of the students of different backgrounds and across different localities in the State has come to the forefront,” the press statement said.
While acknowledging the need for the online mode of teaching and learning, the teachers’ body asserted that the push for online teaching is going to sharpen the digital divide and social inequalities, and urged the authorities concerned to form a task force involving academics from different strata of the education system towards paving a roadmap to negotiate with the challenges.
Expressing concern at the recent recommendation of the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) for open cast coal mining in 98.59 hectares of forest land belonging to the Dehing Patkai Reserve Forest, GUTA observed that such an act is going to destroy the country’s largest tropical lowland rainforest which is home to a large number of rare and endangered wildlife species.
GUTA also called upon the State government to take necessary steps to stop all kinds of illegal mining and smuggling of the forest resources in the State and expressed its solidarity with the ongoing campaign in the social media launched by nature lovers, particularly the student community, against the proposed open cast coal mining in the Dehing Patkai Reserve Forest.