Chandigarh: Thousands of Aided Colleges' Staff on Strike Over Non-implementation of Central Service Rules
In Chandigarh, the prominent DAV college has become the focal point of protests by teaching and non-teaching staff of seven aided colleges of Punjab University over the non-implementation of the Central Service Rules.
The sit-in dharna began yesterday and will go on till February 8. Around 750 teaching and 400 non-teaching staff are affected by this non-implementation. There are about 50,000 students in these seven colleges.
Last year, home minister Amit shah announced that the Central Service Rule would be applied to the employees of Chandigarh. This decision was seen as the BJP's political move to retain control over the UT by the opposition parties.
The notification further declared that the decision would take place from April 1, 2022. The government colleges were finally brought under the Civil Service Rules in December 2022. However, the aided colleges were kept out of it. Since then, there have been several meetings between teachers' unions and the Director of Education(DHE), but all efforts failed as the education department gave no firm timeline to implement the rules. The protest is being organised under the banner of the Joint Action Committee (JAC).
"When the home minister announced in March, it was supposed to cover aided colleges as well, yet, when the rule got implemented in December, only government colleges were included, and the administration left the aided colleges. It is the fault of bureaucracy as the Centre had not differentiated between the aided and government colleges," said Sumit Gokhlaney, a professor of DAV college.
This rule's most significant change was the increase in the retirement age from 58 to 60 years. For some employees, these changes also brought a lot of unclarity and confusion.
"I have not received my salary since May 2022 because of the confusion regarding implementing this rule. The problem is the administration implemented it in bits and pieces, not entirely. I was about to retire last year, but due to this rule, my retirement got postponed, and I have not been not receiving my salary because there is no clarity on how to implement this rule," said Neela, a faculty of Punjab University.
Along with teachers, non-teaching staff, such as librarians, college management, lab technician etc., are also a part of this protest. Along with implementing this notification, their primary demand has been implementing the sixth pay commission. The sixth pay commission has been in place since January 2016.
"Every employee in Punjab government colleges has received the benefits of the sixth pay commission, but we have not. We do not know why they left the aided collages, we have had several meetings with the education department, but nothing substantial came out of it. Approximately 250-300 non-teaching staff are currently waiting for their sixth pay commission to be implemented," said Diwakar Tiwary, an office bearer of the Joint Action Committee.
Chandigarh, a Union territory, became the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana after the bifurcation. Before this notification, all the employees of Chandigarh UT were serving under the Punjab Service Rule.
Speaking with NewsClick, Sandeep Kaurwho, a professor at Shri Guru Gobind Singh College, said. "For the last year, we do not know which service rule we are under. We have been bifurcated from the Punjab Service Rule, but the Centre did not take us in completely. It's been approximately ten months. This confusion is extended to promotions (we do not know where our promotions will take place), appointments, and leaves. People cannot take leaves because they don't know whether they fall under the Punjab administration or Central leave schedule."
The protest is expected to be extended even after February 8 in case of no response from the education department. In the meantime, no academic and administration work is taking place at these colleges. Several calls have been made to DHE to clarify this issue, but it could not be contacted for comments.
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