Lured by dream of better prospects, Sachidanand Pathak left his teaching job in a college in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh 23 years ago.
But the dream still remains unfulfilled. The 53-year-old’s job as a reader in a college in Palpa district is yet to become permanent and he’s not assured of any benefit after he retires.
He’s not alone. Ninety five Indian teachers who came to Nepal to teach in government colleges 2-3 decades back face the same problem.
“There’s always pressure as we have to renew our contracts every two years. The post can be scrapped anytime and we may become jobless,” says Shiv Kumar Mishra.
Mishra, from Maharajganj in UP, came to Nepal in 1989 and is a reader in Tribhuwan Bahumukhi Campus at Palpa—the same college where Pathak teaches Mathematics.
The contracts allow these teachers 15 days of medical leave and 12 days casual leave a year. They also get medical reimbursements, but are not entitled to provident fund, pension or gratuity.
“We have been fighting for 20 years now. Every prime minister gives us assurances, but does nothing,” said Pathak.
The teachers have formed the Nepal University Indian Teachers Association to pursue their cause, but the frequently changing political scenario in Nepal has affected their prospects.
In 1990, jobs of three Indian teachers were made permanent following a visit of the then Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to New Delhi. But his government soon fell and things didn’t move further.
Successive governments have failed to address their grievance as Tribhuwan University under which colleges where most Indian teachers are working fall, is an autonomous body not under direct government control.
“We are aware of the plight of these teachers and have tried at every level to solve this issue. But all we get is assurances,” said Indian Embassy spokesperson Apoorva Srivastava.
Meanwhile, Pathak, Mishra and others continue to suffer and wait---not knowing whether the next renewal of their contracts would be the last.
“Nepalis working in India get all benefits like any citizen of that country. We want our posts to be made permanent—at least on humanitarian grounds,” said Mishra.