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University and College Teachers Court Arrest, to Start an Indefinite Hunger Strike



CHANDIGARH: On a call given by Punjab Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations (PFUCTO) nearly 2000 teachers of universities and colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh staged a rally at Chandigarh today and marched towards the residence of the CM Punjab. However, they were stopped by Chandigarh Police and hundreds of men and women courted arrest.

PFUCTO is demanding immediate implementation of revised UGC Pay Scales and withdrawal of the decision of the Punjab Government to delink the scales of teachers of universities and colleges from UGC. PFUCTO has been protesting on these issues for a long time and had earlier been on a chain fast for 45 days, which was suspended after the Education Minister S. Pargat Singh accepted their demands by offering ceremonial juice to the fasting personnel on 19 October. Even after six weeks the matter is pending between the offices of FM and CM. The Principals’ Associations of GNDU, PU and Punjabi University have also extended their support to and joined the protest programme.

Earlier, addressing the rally, Dr Jagwant Singh, General secretary, PFUCTO, said that it seemed that the Government was bent upon destroying the higher education system in Punjab by delinking it from the National Higher Education system and was taking decisions that were in direct contravention with the central laws on the subject of higher education which is on the concurrent list. He said they had knocked every door to convince the Government but the matter was still in limbo. This was forcing teachers to take the extreme step. Dr H S Kingra, President, PFUCTO, said that our fight was not just about the Pay Scales but about the future of higher education in Punjab which was already in shambles. This fight was for providing a quality education for the youth of Punjab.

Dr Lakhwinder S Kang, president GNDUTA, endorsed the views of the president and general secretary and declared that he would also join Dr Kingra on indefinite fast from the next day at PAU campus, Ludhiana.

Dr B S Tohra, President GCTA, said that it was good that at last Government of Punjab was filling the posts of assistant professors in the state after twenty years but it was unacceptable that new recruits were being offered a delinked scale. He demanded that Government must take all the steps to protect the interest of guest faculty teachers.

Dr Mritunjay Kumar, President PUTA, said that they were never happy to be on the roads but it was the Punjab Government who was forcing them to do so by dilly dallying on the UGC Pay Scales that had been implemented long ago in the rest of the country.

Dr Vinay Sofat, President, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU), said that it was shocking that the Government of Punjab was so hesitant to have a dialogue with open mind and was unable to utter a single sentence in support of its position.

Dr Bhupinder S Virk, President, PUTA Patiala, said that it was unfortunate that the nation builders had been forced to resort to protest for their legitimate dues at a point of time when the academic sessions were still not a normal due to COVID-19.

Dr S S Randhawa, General Secretary, PCCTU said that the promised simplification process of the regularization of the Punjab college teachers working against 1925 posts was still awaited and was giving stress to the teachers due to impending code of conduct.

Teachers from Himachal Pradesh Govt. colleges also participated and Dr. R.L. Sharma, Secretary, HPGCTA addressed the rally.

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