Bhubaneswar: In the backdrop of the brutal burning to death of a lady teacher in Rayagada district in Odisha for raising voice against sexual harassment allegedly by a senior, the School and Mass Education department on Friday issued guidelines for the safety of women employees at workplace with immediate effect.
The state government's action in this regard came in wake of certain complaints made by lady teachers, said School and Mass Education minister Debi Prasad Mishra.
"District Education Officers (DEO) and District Project Coordinators (DPC) will take prompt action in case of the complaint relating to sexual harassment. After receipt of the complaint, preliminary inquiry is to be conducted within three days and report to be submitted to the respective District Collectors," the guidelines said.
The guideline has provision of sending a copy of the inquiry report to the grievance redressal officer of the School and Mass Education department.
The District Collector will referrer the matter to the local complaint committee (LCC) for necessary recommendations. "LCC shall provide its confidential report within 30 days. After due inquiry, the Collector will take a decision within 25 days of receipt of recommendations. The statutory provisions of prevention of sexual harassment to women in workplace are to be followed strictly for disposal of the complaint," it said.
If the preliminary report suspect any threat to the life of the victim, her workplace can be changed within the district, the guideline said adding that the School and Mass Education department will issue an order for the transfer of the women employee from one district to another within 15 days of receipt of the report from the Collector.
However, transfer to another district will be done only in exceptional cases said the guidelines adding that the LCC may also forward the complaint to the police for inquiry.
Itishree Pradhan, a woman teacher in Rayagada district, was set afire by some miscreants leading to her death.
The woman teacher's killing become a major issue in the state as the victim had earlier drawn attention of the District Collector, police and others seeking her transfer due to the sexual harassment by a senior. However, no action was taken by the authorities then.
The police had arrested the accused senior teacher who allegedly harassed Pradhan. However, the police are yet to nab the man who actually set the lady teacher on fire. PTI