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College Teachers’ Strike Continues

IMPHAL, Feb 22: As part of the agitation being launched by teachers in 28 colleges under the Government of Manipur demanding implementation of UGC scheme and review of the State Cabinet decision in this regard, teachers of Imphal College today demonstrated in front of their college.

In response to the call of Federation of College Teachers’ Association, Manipur (FECTAM), teachers in 28 colleges under Government of Manipur have been staging sit-in-protest in front of their respective college gates for one hour from 1 pm to 2 pm since February 21. The protest demonstration would continue till February 26.

The agitating teachers have been demanding implementation of UGC scheme in Manipur and review of the State Cabinet decision in this regard. It is said that the UGC scheme has already been implemented in 27 other States of the country.

Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the protest demonstration staged at Imphal College gate today, secretary of Imphal College Teachers’ Association N Brojendro pointed out that under the joint aegis of FECTAM, the college teachers in Manipur have been demanding implementation of UGC scheme for the last 18 months. However, instead of discussing and considering the demand, the State Cabinet in its sitting held on November 4, 2010 took a decision quite contrary to the UGC scheme.

He further pointed out that in accordance to the UGC scheme; the basic pay is to be Rs 15,000 while the academic grade pay should be Rs 6000. But the State Cabinet decision fixed the basic pay at Rs 9,300 and the academic grade pay at Rs 5200. Such a decision may not affect the Selection Grade Lecturers as it is applicable only to those who are below this rank.

The failure of the Government of Manipur to implement the UGC scheme while the same has been implemented in 27 other States of the country including the neighboring North Eastern States amounts to depriving the rights of the college teachers. This would also discourage many others to take up the profession. In such a situation, college teachers from Manipur may migrate to other neighboring States like Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam, etc instead of working here. Before such a situation actually confronts us, the Government should take the matter seriously, Brojendro cautioned.

Meanwhile, Co-ordinating Committee of the Colleges Students’ Union, Manipur has exerted pressure on the Government to bring about an amicable solution with the agitating FECTAM at the earliest possible.

Talking to mediapersons at Imphal College, co-convener of the Co-ordinating Committee H Punyachandra said that the Government of Manipur should listen to the demand of the college teachers and the college teachers should not resort to strike in the interest of the students.

He pointed out that with semester system introduced in all the colleges affiliated to Manipur University, examination is to be conducted after every six months. Of these six months, after the number of general holidays has been subtracted, the number of days for normal classes left is very few. The examination for the first semester was supposed to be conducted in December, but could be held only in January. This was despite the fact that no problem or agitation, either of the teachers or the students, has been witnessed. When the examination could not be held in time even during normal time, the agitating of the teachers of in the second semester would give a serious impact on the academic career of the students. He further pointed out that the examination for BA, B Sc, B Com Ist year  with back papers and third year are schedule begin from April 20 and for BA, B Sc and B Com second year examination from May 10. So, now is the right time for the students to clarify their doubts. But the agitation of the teachers would make it impossible. Another co-convener of the Committee N Edison, who was also present at the occasion, appealed for immediate resolution of the current standoff between Government of Manipur and FECTAM in consideration of the plights of the students.

Churachandpur correspondent adds: The lecturers of Churachandpur College since yesterday joined the agitation that was initiated by its parent body in the State demanding immediate implementation of UGC revised pay scale and realization of the national education policy.  For now our agitation will be limited only to a sit-in-protest without affecting the normal classes, but if our grievances are not heard within this week we shall resort to boycotting the class and other forms of more assertive agitations, said Dr. Jangkholun Mate, spokesman of the association.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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