GU staff threaten pay protest

Guwahati, May 19 : Gauhati University is headed for turmoil with its teachers at loggerheads with the authorities over non-implementation of a “fat and attractive” pay package recommended by the University Grants Commission and the human resource development ministry.
While the teachers were planning a protracted agitation for non-implementation of the new payscale by Dispur from this week, the GU vice-chancellor’s office has maintained that it cannot put pressure on the state government for implementation of the payscale.
“The new payscale is basically meant for central universities. The state government can implement the same purely at its own discretion. After receiving a one-time grant of Rs 25 crore for the university’s development last year, the authorities are not willing to put further pressure on the state government. In case of implementation of the new payscale, the government will have to spend several crores of rupees from its exchequer,” an official told The Telegraph.
Not convinced, the Gauhati University Teachers’ Association (GUTA) has convened a general body meeting on Wednesday to chalk out its course of agitation.
Jogen Chandra Kalita, the general secretary of GUTA, said it was high time the university teachers got a pay package on a par with central universities.
“The teachers of the university deserve a better pay package in line with what was announced by the UGC and HRD ministry in 2007. The academic qualifications of the teachers are the same as those working in central universities. We are doing the same amount of hard work like our counterparts in the central universities to impart education. Being the oldest and the mother university of the region, GU deserves the new payscales and the state government must implement the same. If something is not done immediately, the teachers will be forced to resort to a long agitation,” Kalita said.
The general secretary said that in 2006, a delegation of the association had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and pressed for declaration of GU as a central university.
“Singh gave full assurance to concede to our demand. We met chief minister Tarun Gogoi thrice with the same demand and the latter assured of the needful. Now we are not going to wait any more and have demanded vice-chancellor O.K. Medhi’s intervention to put pressure on the government on the issue,” he added.
The existing basic pay for a lecturer of the university is Rs 8,000, Rs 12,000 for a reader and Rs 16,000 for a professor. According to the new payscale, the basic salary will be Rs 16,000 for a lecturer, Rs 37,000 for a reader and Rs 39,000 for a professor.
When contacted, the vice-chancellor maintained that the new payscales were meant for central universities and the state government would have to use its discretion while implementing them.