Chandigarh : Work in nearly 170 non-govt. colleges across Punjab and Chandigarh came to a standstill today on the call of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising of Non-Govt. Colleges Managements Federation of Punjab and Chandigarh, Federation of Associations of Principals of Punjab and Chandigarh , Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU), and Federation of Non-teaching Employees of Punjab and Chandigarh.
The JAC held a massive rally at Sector 25, Chandigarh. The main demands of JAC include the implementation of decision of SAD-BJP Govt. taken by the Cabinet on the issue of pension and gratuity on December 12, 2001 under the Act of 1999, lifting of the ban on recruitment, implementation of revised pay scales and allowances for the non-teaching employees w.e.f. 1.1.2006 on the basis of their pay parity with their counterparts working in Govt. colleges, and payment of arrears, etc.
Addressing the rally on behalf of Managements Federation, Sh. S.P. Anand said that the Non-govt. colleges established by religious and charitable societies had played a stellar role in pre-independent and post-independent Punjab. Unfortunately the policies of the Govt. had created a serious crisis by imposing ban on recruitment.
Principal Jaspal Singh Randhawa, General Secretary, Federation of Principals, said that all the stakeholders were worried that Punjab was lagging behind on all parameters in college education from even the adjoining states.
Sh. Satish Sharma, Director (Colleges), D.A.V.C. Managing Committee said that the demands being raised in Punjab for pension-gratuity scheme and scales of non-teaching staff had already been met by almost all the states of the country.
General Secretary of the JAC, Dr. Jagwant Singh said that they had knocked at all the doors of the Govt. but had received only assurances so far. He said that if Govt. failed to implement the decision taken by it on December 12, 2001 then it should be ready for the consequences. He believed that because of the unfulfilled promise of pension-gratuity in the 2007 SAD-BJP manifesto, the combine would lose the right to issue another manifesto for the forthcoming elections. He said that since the policy stated that non-teaching employees had parity with their counterparts in Govt. colleges, the foul play on this front was condemnable.
Sh. H. S. Walia, General Secretary, PCCTU said that Punjab was the only state which had not implemented pension scheme and the letters of UGC on refresher courses. He added that the Punjab Govt. had imposed this agitation on them.
Sh. M. L. Khullar, leader of the non-teaching employees rued that they had to struggle every time for pay scales and allowances although they had been given pay parity with their counterparts in Govt. colleges. Even the decisions of Punjab and Haryana High Court on the issue had been ignored.
Principal Gurdeep Sharma, President of Principals Federation declared that all the stakeholders were united for the common demands and for the future of these colleges and students. He announced on behalf of the JAC, that the entire teaching and non-teaching staff would observe a 48 hour stay-in strike on Dec 8 & 9 in all the colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh. They would not conduct the house exams in the colleges. However, the university semester exams would continue as usual. From Monday a chain fast would begin in Jalandhar and the action programme would be reviewed on 13.12.11. He thanked the gathering for their whole hearted participation.
After the rally 24 executive members courted arrest under the leadership of Prof. H. S. Walia, General Secretary, PCCTU. Sh. Tarsem Bahia, former Principal and former Gen. Secretary of the PCCTU also courted arrest.