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Gratuity gift for forgotten teachers

Ranchi, Feb. 18: Around 400 teachers, whose gratuity benefits were locked in an inter-state dispute over sharing of assets and liabilities when Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000, will finally get their due.

Now, the state human resource development department in Ranchi has worked out a deal by virtue of which each teacher, who had retired during the time, would get around Rs 3.5 lakh each.

“We have decided to pay gratuity of Rs 3.5 lakh to each teacher who superannuated between January 1, 1997 and November 15, 2000,” state HRD secretary D.K. Tiwary told The Telegraph.

HRD bosses would now place a final proposal before the governor’s advisory council during its next meeting likely to be held in a day or two.

After the bifurcation, Bihar refused to pay gratuity to these teachers although those who retired after November 15, 2000, and before January 1, 1997, did not face any problem in getting retirement benefits.

Director (higher education) D.N. Ojha said the number of retired teachers who would benefit from the HRD department’s decision was around 300-400 — spread over the state’s five universities, namely, Ranchi University, Kolhan University, Sidhu-Kanhu Murmu University, Neelamber Pitamber University and Vinoba Bhave University (VBU).

“We have asked all universities to send a list of such teachers. Earlier, individual petitions in good numbers had been received by us,” said Ojha, himself a former teacher of Ranchi University now serving in the higher education department on deputation.

As of now, the HRD department is grappling with thousands of legal cases, most of which pertain to pension and gratuity dues, alleged irregularities in disbursal of fifth and sixth pay commission recommendations for non-teaching and teaching staff.

As of now, the HRD department has as many as 488 contempt cases pending against it in various courts while the number of writ petitions is over 2,800. “Some of the cases go back to the ’70s. Cases on non-payment of gratuity number around 70,” said an official.

Non-teaching staff of all the state universities have declared an indefinite strike from tomorrow to press for their long-pending demands that include non-implementation of fifth as well sixth pay commission benefits.

On February 16, non-teaching employees of five universities availed of mass casual leave as precursor to their indefinite agitation.

Tiwary claimed he had invited leaders of Jharkhand State Universities and College Employees Confederation for talks. However, going by past experience, teachers and non-teachers aren’t hopeful. The state is yet to implement decisions taken in 2007 and 2010 after holding talks with the confederation. Students, meanwhile, are the worst sufferers.