Sunday, December 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Teachers to cease work from Dec 4
Stir may hit exams in Punjab, UT
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 1
The constitutional crisis arising out of non-implementation of the Pension-Gratuity Act by the SAD-BJP government in Punjab is threatening to disrupt the forthcoming examination season yet again with teachers of 140 non-government aided colleges up in arms against the inaction by the government in this regard.

To begin with, the nearly 5000-strong teachers’ brigade has given a call for “Total Ceasework” in these colleges spread over Punjab and Chandigarh from December 4 to 10 with the understanding that the protest would be intensified “to wake the government from its deep slumber” in case the government refuses to budge.

It has also been decided that the State Executive Committee of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) would court arrest on December 3.

The immediate provocation in the 1999-notified Act has come by way of a letter issued by the Finance Department of the Punjab Government, washing its hands off the scheme and passing the buck to private managements of these colleges. The letter issued by the department to the Principal Secretary, Higher Education, in a complete turnaround from earlier claims, says the funds for the scheme would not come from the government treasury.

Claiming that it is a major deviation from the past notification of the government, Fellow, Panjab University, and former General Secretary, PCCTU, Prof. Charanjit Chawla, says, “The government has played foul with us and deprived teachers of what is rightfully theirs for almost 12 years. How does the government expect the fund-starved managements to meet the expenses? We opposed this move tooth and nail in 1990 and we will do so now. The government will have to relent and take responsibility.”

The Secretary of the Chandigarh District Council of PCCTU, Prof. Karamjit Singh, adds, “We have wasted precious time on empty assurances of the government. This time we will not give in till we have our way. The government is being unreasonable, so can we be if that is what it takes to get our due.”

It maybe recalled that the PCCTU had raised a demand for the pension-gratuity scheme in college in 1990 after which the government had issued a notification accepting the demand and asking the private managements to pay up. However, this was rejected by the PCCTU and in 1995, this was introduced as a Bill in the Punjab Assembly along with the Finance Bill of the Congress government.

Later, in January, 1996, the then Chief Minister, Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, issued a 34-page notification on the matter for teachers and non-teachers employed in these colleges. This was circulated to all college principals in December, 1996, and the SAD-BJP government, in April 1998, issued an executive order implementing the pension-cum-gratuity scheme in lieu of the Contributory Provident Fund against aided posts.

The Badal-government brought the Bill to the Assembly where it was unanimously accepted by the House on March 30, 1999, and signed by the Governor in the form of an Act on April 26, 1999.

“When all constitutional bodies have cleared the scheme, the non-implementation amounts to flouting the norms of the Constitution. This recent letter by the Finance department is all set to rake up a fresh controversy and hamper the smooth examination process,” Prof Chawla said.

Meanwhile, the principals of non-government aided colleges are meeting at Jallandhar on December 2 to plan tiding over the difficult situation presented by the “ceasework” call of the PCCTU and its fallout in case the government fails to respond and come to their rescue.Back

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