Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has given the go-ahead to invoke the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) against teachers on strike,even though no date has as yet been fixed for enforcing the law.
The permission has been taken from the chief minister to invoke MESMA against striking teachers. But we have not yet decided on which day we will invoke it. The permission for the date will have to taken from the chief minister and the cabinet, Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope said.
The higher and technical education department is likely to release the next instalment of Sixth Pay Commission arrears for teachers by Friday. A first instalment of Rs 500 crore was released last week,and another Rs 1,000 crore is due to the teachers.
Tope said the cabinet was expected to clear an ordinance on Thursday for disbursal of the remaining amount. Sources said the state may,however,hold back the arrears of teachers who are on strike.
Officials claimed that no more than 15 per cent teachers were on strike across the state,and more were returning to work every day. They said that despite the strike,over half the evaluation was over and many results had been declared. Tope said vice-chancellors had been asked to take action against teachers who have not been attending to mandatory assessment work.
Degree college teachers have boycotted work since February 4 under the banner of the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers Organisation (MFUCTO). They have submitted a 13-point charter of demands to the state government,including regularisation of services of non-National Eligibility Test (NET) or State Level Eligibility Test (SLET) teachers appointed between 19.9.1991 and 3.4.2000.
While 12 of the 13 issues have been sorted out,the regularisation of non-NET/SLET teachers remains a sticking point. Only 2,700 teachers are not NET/SLET qualified,and they are holding other teachers and lakhs of students to ransom. The decision to regularise their services from the date of issue of notification was taken by the cabinet. We are ready to take the matter before the cabinet again. But the teachers want written assurance that the cabinet will sanction what they are demanding,and we cannot do that, an official said.