18 varsities’ teachers protest pay panel report delay

August 7th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) No classes were held Thursday in 18 universities, including the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), across the country as teachers went on a “token strike” protesting the University Grants Commission (UGC) pay review committee’s demand for more time to submit its report. A.K. Bakshi, professor of chemistry at the Delhi University, said the committee had one year to submit the report, which was sufficient, so the demand for three more months was not required.

“G.K. Chadha, the head of the pay review committee, has demanded a minimum of three more months to submit its report, which is absolutely not required considering that they already got a year to do that,” Bakshi told IANS.

The committee was set up Sept 7 last year, with G. K. Chadha, former vice-chancellor of JNU, as its head. It was to submit its report September 6 this year.

Kamal Mitra Chenoy, professor in JNU’s School of International Studies, said: “Three more months would mean December. Then the government would take a minimum of a month to process it before approval. By then it could just be that we wait for a new government since elections will be due. And then the entire process has to re-start and we will have to wait for another one year.”

The strike called by all the 18 universities of the Federation of Central Universities Teachers’ Association (FEDCUTA) was just a “token strike” and more agitation is planned if the same attitude continues, said Chenoy.

Besides Delhi University, the universities which took part in the strike included Jamia Milia Islamia, Jamia Hamdard, Assam university and Aligarh Muslim university.

Chenoy said the association had a talk with Chadha in May this year when he said that the report will be submitted in June.

“And now he says that he needs three more months. We are now going to urge political leaders to hasten the process. In fact, we have already met Sonia Gandhi (Congress president),” Chenoy said.

“There’s still a month more. Until then our agitation will continue,” he added.

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