The Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) has launched a two-month protest programme against the state government' education policy.
According to PCCTU, the Punjab government has not released grants for colleges for the last five quarters, due to which salaries of teachers of various colleges have not been released for the past 5 to 15 months. Colleges in Punjab have faced a financial crunch due to which 60% of them are on the brink of closure.
The state executive of PCCTU has chalked out a two-month action programme and initiated district-level protests, with rallies in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Pathankot, Gurdaspur and Batala on Tuesday.
Addressing the rally, PCCTU secretary HS Walia said, "The entire education system in the state is going haywire due to the visionless and directionless policies of the state government. It is not the shortage of resources, but the short- sighted policies pertaining to higher education that are responsible for the gloomy academic atmosphere in the state".
The teachers of various affiliated colleges of Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts ceased work and assembled in Amritsar for about three hours. The rally was also addressed by PCCTU Amritsar district president Malkiat Singh, district secretary Vikas Bhardwaj, state executive member JS Arora and BBK DAV college union president Rupinder Kaur.
PCCTU state executive member JS Arora appealed to the state government to immediately accept the just and genuine demands of teachers by inviting the teachers' representatives for an official meeting. "If the pending grants are not released immediately, the responsibility of vitiating the academic atmosphere in the state will be that of the government. This struggle will be carried forward with 'do or die' approach," he added.
Prof HS Walia announced that the district rallies will be organised throughout the state up to November 5 and thereafter, on November 20, a state-level rally will be organised in Chandigarh.
During the rally, Walia also highlighted PCCTU's other demands including provision of security of service to the teachers working against unaided posts, streamlining the academic performance indicators (API) system of promotion under career advancement scheme (CAS), implementation of UGC guidelines regarding relaxation in refresher courses, pension and gratuity scheme for teachers, professors posts in colleges, enhancement in retirement age to 65 years from 60 years.