Published: 29th October 2019
Why Jadavpur University teachers are worried about the Governor's concern for their pay hikes
After UGC published the new pay scale, JUTA representatives met the Higher Education Minister, handed over memoranda, and held rallies. Dhankhar read about it and asked to meet the teachers
West Bengal Governor and ex-officio Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Jagdeep Dhankhar, has asked the Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (JUTA) to meet him to discuss their long-pending "legitimate" demand for implementation of the fresh pay scales announced by the University Grants Commission two years back. But teachers are apprehensive of the Chancellor's sudden interest in issues regarding the university and are not sure how things will turn out to be.
The Governor had reportedly called a senior JUTA member on Monday and told him that he has "seen in newspapers" that thair pay scale has not been implemented yet and thought that it was a "legitimate" claim. But this is the first time, said Dr Kesab Bhattacharyya, HOD of the Electrical Engineering Department of the University, that the Chancellor has expressed intent to talk about an issue after reading about it on the news. "Since the Chancellor is the highest authority of the university the teachers have, in the past, met with him and discussed their issues. But this surely is unique," said Dr Bhattacharyya, who is also the General Secretary of the West Bengal College and University Teachers' Association and a member of the JUTA.
What the teachers like Dr Bhattacharyya are worried about is whether these concerns that the Chancellor has about the university would lead to him dictating terms in the days to come. "The Chancellor coming to a Court meeting on campus is something that has not happened as far as we could remember. It seems to be a positive step from his side as of now but things might even lead to encroachment of the autonomy of the institute later," said the professor.
"He said it was our legitimate demand which has been pending for a long time. He wanted to sit with us and see whether he could do something," JUTA General Secretary Partha Pratim Roy said. Roy said he told the Governor that he would get back to him after discussing his proposal with other association members once the university reopens on October 31 after the puja vacation. "I told him there are other issues like the Institute of Eminence tag for JU, which has been held back by the Central government. Some other central programmes are also stalled. The statute has also not been done. The Chancellor said all the issues can be discussed once we meet him," he said.
After UGC published the new pay scale, JUTA representatives met the Higher Education Minister, handed over memoranda, and held rallies. The JUTA representatives called on the minister on Friday but were disappointed to learn that the state government was yet to decide on the issue. "We met state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Friday. We were disappointed when he said that the government is yet to decide on the issue. "We have decided to hold a two-day cease work on November 19-20," Roy added.