The Telegraph
Thursday , February 21 , 2013
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Truce efforts to end varsity stir
- HRD moves to pass on Sixth Pay Commission benefits to striking staff

Ranchi, Feb. 20: The HRD department has recommended implementation of Sixth Pay Commission and other benefits for 6,500 striking non-teaching employees of five universities of Jharkhand in an effort to placate the protesters days before the beginning of intermediate examinations across the state.

The recommendations, that include assured career promotion — a key demand of the university staff — was sent to governor’s adviser K Vijay Kumar today by the department’s principal secretary D.K. Tiwary.

“The state will have to spend about Rs 60 crore every year while giving due benefits to the striking employees. We have made suitable recommendations to the adviser for which a decision of the advisory council is needed,” Tiwary said.

But the striking teachers aren’t convinced about the administration’s move. “Our demands are long-pending,” said Shivaji Tiwary, the general secretary of the federation of teachers spearheading the stir.

“Respective governments had, in 2007 and 2010, promised to fulfil our demands, but nothing was implemented. Let the state come out with a notification vis--vis fulfilment of demands first,” he added.

The striking university and college employees, under the banner of Jharkhand Visvavidyalaya and Mahavidyalaya Karmachari Mahasangh, have crippled the functioning of all five state universities — Ranchi University, Kolhan University, Neelambar Pitambar University, Sido-Kanhu Murmu University and Vinoba Bhave University.

Also, intermediate examinations are scheduled to begin across the state from Friday.

State varsities have always adopted double standards on the question of extending benefits to teaching and non-teaching staff. While teachers enjoy benefits of the Sixth Pay Commission, the others have been deprived of Fifth Pay Commission recommendations.

Yesterday, the state advisory council passed a proposal to grant Rs 3.5 lakh gratuity each to over 400 university teachers who had retired between January 1, 1997 to November 15, 2000.

The move, hitherto caught in an interstate dispute over sharing of assets and liabilities between Bihar and Jharkhand, would cost the exchequer around Rs 9 crore.

HRD officials were hopeful they would be able to resolve the issue of striking university staff during the next meeting of the advisory council.

Governor Syed Ahmed has convened a meeting on higher education on February 26 when the issue is also expected to be taken up.