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Teachers’ body ignores Bratya plea on strike

The Left-dominated West Bengal College and University Teachers Association has turned down education minister Bratya Basu’s plea for withdrawal of its call for ceasework on February 17.

Basu had on Wednesday urged the group to withdraw its call as the government was “keen” on publishing the order for implementation of a promotion scheme for teachers.

The association announced its ceasework plan on February 2 to protest the government’s alleged inaction in implementing the Career Advancement Scheme, which the UGC had approved in June 2010.

“We had sought time from the minister from February 5 to 9 to discuss the issue. A solution could have emerged from the talks. But the minister, who says he is keen on implementing the order, could not take time off for the meeting,” said Tarun Patra, the general secretary of the association.

Patra termed the “delay” in issuing the order an “administrative failure” of the government. “The government had got eight months to issue the order but chose to sit tight. Even now it can’t say for sure when the order will be issued, leaving us with no option but to cease work,” said Patra.

The Democratic Teachers for Autonomy and Academic Freedom, opposed to the Left, has come out against its rival, saying the ceasework would inconvenience undergraduate examinees whose Part II test is scheduled for February 17.

“The association is forcing principals to defer the examination because of the ceasework. This will inconvenience thousands of examinees. The association, instead, should hold a rally after the college hours,” said Kalyanmay Ganguly of the anti-Left body.

Patra, however, said his association had only “requested” the principals to change the test date.