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Union forces campus rollback on registers

The CPM-controlled employees’ union of Calcutta University (CU) has forced the authorities to revoke an order of the Syndicate — the university’s highest policy-making body — on allowing research assistants to sign attendance registers in their respective departments. The authorities’ move to bend the Syndicate’s stand, at the insistence of the CPM-backed union, has caused resentment among teachers and students.

The Syndicate, said sources, decided that the attendance registers could be signed in the departments to benefit the students. The non-teaching employees’ demand is that the research assistants follow the system of signing a centralised attendance register, like everyone else.

“The Syndicate order sent to me clearly states that research assistants of my department will not be required to sign the centralised attendance registers. I am surprised to know that the decision has been reversed,” said head of CU’s radio physics department P.B. Basu.

As part of the drive to improve work culture in government offices, CU has also introduced certain measures to regularise the arrival and departure of its employees. To plug loopholes in the register system, the university recently introduced a method to keep attendance registers at a centralised location, under the supervision of a senior official, on every campus, where employees have to sign their arrival and departure timings. Earlier, each department maintained a separate register. Employees were required to sign the registers kept in their respective departments, supervised by the head of department.

However, a research assistant of the radio physics department had urged the authorities to exclude research assistants from the new centralised system, as they often have to stay back late in the evenings and sometimes arrive directly at the department. The plea was placed at the Syndicate’s meeting last week.

Responding to the request, the Syndicate indicated that unlike non-teaching staff, separate attendance registers should be maintained in the departments for research assistants. The resolution further stated that the heads of departments maintain the arrival and departure timings of research assistants.

However, setting aside the Syndicate order, the university authorities on Wednesday asked the heads of departments to ensure that research assistants sign the centralised registers, after a section of the CPM-backed union demanded that no separate registers be maintained.

“There is no provision under the new system to maintain more than one attendance register. The purpose of having a centralised system will not be served if each department maintains separate registers for research assistants,” said Partha Ray Choudhuri, leader of the CPM union.

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