Contractual lecturers suspend hunger strike
Govt Will Discuss Job Policy For Them In Cabinet: Minister
Srinagar, August 17: After 20 days of continuous hunger strike at Press Enclave here, lecturers working on academic arrangement in colleges Wednesday suspended the strike after an assurance by the state government that their demands would be looked into.
“We have suspended the strike following assurances by a delegation sent by Chief Minister today. We have been assured that the government will issue orders before Eid-ul-Fitr on our two demands and subsequently rest of the demands shall also be met,” President of J&K Contractual College Teachers' Association (JKCCTA), Dr Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, told Greater Kashmir.
The delegation comprising Minister for Higher Education Abdul Gani Malik and Chief Minister’s Political Advisor Mubarak Gul met the striking lecturers this morning.
“A special committee will be formed. It will comprise members of the government including me and CM’s Advisor Mubarak Gul and contractual lecturers. The committee will discuss the special policy about job security for the contractual lecturers,” Abdul Gani Malik said, addressing the lecturers in a makeshift tent at Press Enclave here. “All the issues including eligibility for regularization and relaxation in confirmation of those who have continuously worked for 5 to 7 years on academic arrangement will be discussed.”
He said the Government would discuss the policy in the cabinet meeting for its final approval. “Everyone of you will benefit under the policy,” he said.
The Minister, who had come to talk to the lecturers ‘on behalf of CM’, said the policy will consider all categories—overage or underage, low experience or higher experience, eligible or non-eligible, fresher or seniors.
“A comprehensive policy keeping in consideration the future of contractual lecturers, on pattern of Rehbar-e-Taleem, will be put in place,” the minister said.
The Minister assured that the policy would cover all the demands including the hike in monthly wages equivalent to the basic salary of the post, an end to the new norm of six classes per day instead of four classes, and one time amendments in eligibility criteria.
“There will be special clause for teachers with more than five years of experience. They will not have to sign the contract after completing five years,” he assured.
Addressing the gathering Mubarak Gul said the open job policy will be framed which would cover all candidates.
General Secretary JKCCTA Izhar-ul-Haq said, “If government takes care of demands through a written order, like the revocation of six classes a day, and brings the number of students in the classroom from 250 to 85 as per UGC norms, we will permanently call off the strike.”
He said the contractual teachers should be paid basic salary equivalent to their permanent counterparts, as per the principle of equal pay for equal work.
While lecturers were excited on the government assurance, they are unsure if they would be met. “The government has backtracked on its assurances earlier which prompted us to go on hunger strike. If they repeat the same, we will be forced to go on strike again,” they said.
The lecturers went on strike on June 27 and started observing hunger strike from July 29 onwards. There are 35 representatives representing 35 colleges who were observing hunger strike. “We request the college principals to start classwork from 9 AM to 5 PM for the benefit of student community,” they said.
Two mainstream politicians, including a cabinet minister, visited the striking teachers at Press Enclave here Tuesday to express solidarity with them.
These include Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir and Member of Legislative Assembly Kulgam M Y Tarigami.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 17 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 18 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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