28 Jan : Teachers working in universities, Govt. colleges and non-Govt. colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh held a massive rally in Sector 25, Chandigarh after proceeding on mass casual leave to demand implementation of revised UGC pay scales notified by Ministry of Human Resources Development, Govt. of India on December 31st 2008.
The call for mass casual leave and rally was given by Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers Organizations (PFUCTO); a Federation representing five universities, 54 Govt. Colleges of Punjab and 170 non-govt. of Punjab and Chandigarh.
Addressing the rally Dr. Jagwant Singh, General Secretary of PFUCTO said the scales which were supposed to be notified by Govt. of India in September-October 2008 were delayed by more than 2 months as model code of conduct became effective due to announcement of State Assembly elections. Now, even after 4 weeks of notification by Govt. of India, there is little progress in Punjab and announcement of General Elections to the Lok Sabha is only 4 weeks away, and this is giving anxiety to nearly 10000 teachers working is universities and colleges. He said that teachers have reason to be apprehensive as the Department of Higher Education, Punjab is in a state of neglect.
This is obvious from the fact that at present there is no regular Principal Secretary, Secretary, Additional Secretary, Special Secretary, Joint Secretary or DPI(Colleges) in the Department. He wondered how the Dept. without officers will speedily implement the scales. He said that the implementation of the pay scales in Chandigarh colleges too will need further 10 days therefore, thereafter, they are demanding early implementation. Dr. S.S. Dhillon, President, PFUCTO said that teachers are conscious of the fact that this is the peak time of the academic session and wish that there should not be any major interruption of the academic activities on the campuses. He said that the Govt. must implemented the notification immediately and should not force them to intensity the agitation. He said that it is still fresh in the mind of teachers that present pay scales were implemented after a prolonged steruggle and teachers were made to bear police brutalities at Matka Chowk.
Dr. Raunki Ram, Vice-President PFUCTO and President PUTA said that since 80 percent funds to meet the additional financial burden are to come from Govt. of India for the period 1.1.2006 to 31.3.2010, Punjab Govt. should come forward to implement the pay scales immediately. He said that teachers are ready to intensity the agitation at a short notice. Dr. Jaipal Singh, President, GCTA said during the last 10-15 years, Punjab Govt. has lagged behind the neighbouring states in giving their dues to the university and college teachers. Therefore, teachers demand that the new notification should be implement in toto.
Dr. Mukesh Siag, Secretary, PFUCTO expressed surprise that Govt. of Punjab is unable to obtain a copy from Govt. of India through official Channels of Communication. He said that if, the Govt. of Punjab delays the implementations teachers should prepare for an indefinite strike.
The rally was also addressed by PCCTU President, Dr. I.S. Sandhu, Dr. Ashwani Kaul, Secretary PUTA, Dr. S.S.Randhawa, President, GADVASUTA.Nearly 2000 teachers participated in the rally. In the meanwhile it is the reliably learnt that the Education Minister, Dr. Upinderjit Kaur has sent a file to Chief Minister, S. Prakash Singh Badal for approval in principle. In view of this development PFUCTO decided to wait till February 10, 2009, if the Govt. fails to notify the new pay scales by February 10, 2009, PFUCTO will intensify the education.