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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

As farmers return, teachers pick Matka Chowk for protest

Govt’s move to delink UGC scales for university and college teachers a hurdle

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
December 15, 2021 6:03:14 am
Teachers protest at Matka Chowk on Tuesday. Kamleshwar Singh

Intensifying the ongoing agitation, several teachers gathered at the Matka Chowk of Sector 17 of Chandigarh to protest against the non-implementation of the 7th Pay Commission and the government’s decision to delink the UGC scales for university and college teachers.

The teachers, in a press statement, stated that they have decided to intensify their agitation so that “the powers that be are pulled out of slumber”. The statement read, “It is a pity that while the present government of Punjab keeps harping upon the importance of education for development of the state, the teachers of higher educational institutions have been forced to boycott all academic work and sit on the roads for their rights which should have naturally come to them. It was thus decided that if the government still fails to respond favourably to the demands of agitating teachers, intensified efforts would be strategised in future”.

It has been several months since the teachers of Punjab have been protesting on roads and have continued to intensify their protests as the government has continued to ignore the issue. It was in December that the teachers went on a complete ‘education bandh’. The teachers have demanded that an immediate implementation of the 7th Pay Commission and withdrawal of government’s decision to delink the UGC scales for university and college teachers.

The members had in a letter sent out Monday appealed to the Congress’s Sonia Gandhi as well as Rahul Gandhi urging their intervention into the matter. “You are requested to kindly intervene immediately and persuade the Punjab government to adopt the 7th UGC pay scales which are parallel to the 6th Pay Commission/pay scales of Punjab, so that the teachers get their long-pending dues on a par with their counterparts in other states,” the letter read.

Protest timeline
Phase I February-March 2020: Delegation meets CM, who assures them that once the 6th Pay Commission is given to the employees of Punjab, they would notify this. Protest ends.

Phase II June-July 2021: Punjab implements 6th Pay Commission for their own employees but not for teachers, which triggers the next round of protests. Teachers begin large-scale protests on Teachers’ Day on September 5. The teachers continue to hold dharna for 45 days at PU, Chandigarh, in which all associations of Punjab, Himachal and Chandigarh participate. On October 19 this year, Punjab Education Minister Pargat Singh reaches the site and assures new pay scales will be implemented within 15 days. However, nothing happens and teachers resume the dharna on November 3. It goes on till November 16, when a delegation meets Pargat Singh again, who assures implementation.

Phase III: No notification is issued by November 30. Teachers resume and intensify protests.

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