Teacher unions call for hunger strike on Oct 12

Oct 08, 2012, 07:09 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

Daylong strike called to put pressure on Pune Univ to retain provision that allows professors to encash leaves up to six months after retirement

For the past three years, teacher unions and University of Pune (UoP) have been at loggerheads over the encashment of earned leaves (EL) for retired professors.

Senate members at a meeting scheduled for October 13 will once again discuss the issue. During this meeting, decision might be taken on whether teachers should be allowed encashment of EL up to six months post-retirement.

Last varsity to keep scheme: The University of Pune main building. Professors fear the university will scrap the EL encashment provision. File pic

Pune University Teachers Association (PUTA) and Pune University College and Teachers Organization (PUCTO) have called for a daylong hunger strike on October 12 to support encashment of EL post-retirement.

“For any teacher, post-retirement benefits are important and EL encashment has a crucial role in it. Still, the UoP and college management have stuck to their stand of scraping the provision. This will affect thousands of teachers serving in around 750 colleges affiliated with the UoP,” PUTA Chairperson Hema More said.

More said both the unions are firm on their stand and maximum number of teachers would be a part of the hunger strike that will be held outside Vice-Chancellor’s office in support of Statute 424 C.

UoP officials said why should they bear the financial burden of EL encashment. A senior Senate member and Chairperson of Progressive Education Society Dr Gajanan Ekbote said he has a possible solution and would tabling it at the upcoming Senate meeting.

“Currently, the question is who will bear the burden of retired teachers EL encashment? As per my opinion, for teachers serving in aided colleges the government should take the responsibility of EL encashment. For unaided colleges, the statute has to be scrapped as the college management can’t bare this additional financial burden,” Dr Ekbote said.

A professor, requesting anonymity, said post-retirement EL encashment plays a vital role along with other financial benefits. “As the provision is mentioned in the University Act, it should continue in favour of teachers,” the professor said.

In February 2009, the then UoP V-C Dr Narendra Jadhav had issued an order scrapping the Statute 424 that makes professors eligible for EL encashment to teachers. Jadhav received support from the management council, which gave a green signal for removing the provision of EL encashment.

This evoked angry reactions from PUTA and PUCTO members and the issue has remained unsolved ever since. 

Facts and figures
>> Except for UoP, all other 10 non-agriculture state universities cancelled Statute 424 C
>> Around 750 colleges are affiliated with the UoP, in which 12,000 professors are beneficiaries of EL encashment if the statute remains unchanged
>> According to the varsity officials, every teacher receives around Rs 2 lakhs as EL encashment after retirement

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