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Dramatic end to varsity stir

Nearly 900 grade III and IV employees of Birsa Agricultural University, protesting over the past three weeks to demand payment of wage arrears and promotions, ended their stir on Monday in the wake of the election code of conduct that is in effect across the country.

However, the end to the protest was preceded by a drama on the campus over a ‘secret’ agreement between the president of Jharkhand Karmachari Morcha, the outfit spearheading the stir, and varsity management.

On Monday morning, it was found that Morcha president Mohal Lal Mahto had agreed to call off the strike as part of a ‘deal’ signed with the varsity administration on Saturday evening.

Terming the deal a ‘sell-out’, agitating employees continued with their stir and vowed that they would not relent till their demands were met. Agitated employees further called an emergency meeting of the Morcha and ousted Mahto from the post of president.

Matters were resolved after former BAU vice-chancellor S.N. Pandey intervened on behalf of the varsity and requested the striking employees to call off their agitation.

Later, the varsity management assured the protesters that their demands, including payment of arrears and promotions, would be met once the varsity received funds for the state government.

“The varsity management has agreed not to initiate disciplinary actions against employees for not working during the stir. We have agreed to compensate by working on Sundays and holidays. Since general polls have been announced and model code of conduct is in force, we have decided to put off our agitation for the time-being,” said Abu Sayeed, general secretary of the Morcha.

Sayeed added that once elections were over, they would convene a meeting and decide on their future course of action.

The employees had been protesting since February 18 in the five colleges under the university. The varsity authorities had to postponed Agrotech-2014 Kisan Mela scheduled for March 1 to 3 on the campus because of the protest.