The teacher community’s hardships continue as the government has asked all the college contractuals to pay back a share of their salaries amounting to Rs 30, 000 per lecturer and Rs 20,000 per teaching assistant which they have been given between March 2014 and January 2015 due to “misinterpretation” of College Principals.
As per order of Secretary to government, Higher Education Department dated Oct 29, 2015, the college principals have been assigned the responsibility of recovering the payments.
“The principal concerned shall make the due payments or recoveries as per the aforementioned clarifications, under intimation to this department,” reads the end para of the order no Edu-Coll/Acd.Arrg/KD/2014-15.
The “lackadaisical” attitude of the department is clearly visible with this order which has been sent as a reply to an early order of 35-HE of 2014 dated January 23, 2014.
The government had in that earlier order specified the amount of salary to be given to the teachers under academic arrangement.
“They had directed Rs 15,000 for eligible candidates and Rs 10,000 for non-eligible candidates in first year. Similarly Rs 18,000 for eligible and Rs 12, 000 for non-eligible in second year,” said a college principal.
The terms “first year” and “second year” had puzzled majority of the principals who had sought clarifications from the higher education department. “But months went on and we received no clarification until now; asking recovering of salaries is illogical!” said a college principal.
They have defined lecturers, librarians having P hd/NET/SLET as eligible candidates and teaching assistants/assistant librarians having MPhil/PG as non-eligible, he said.
In view of no response from the higher education and mounting pressure of disbursing salaries to the academic arrangement teachers, the principals of the colleges themselves interpreted the “first year” as the ongoing “academic year/session” ending in February 2014.
Similarly the second year was interpreted as session from March 2014 onwards; in Kashmir division.
Now Higher Education Department has sent a clarification order after nearly twenty two months saying, “The department is in receipt of several communications from principals of the government degree colleges seeking clarification on the implementation of government order no 35-HE of 2014 dates 23/01/2014 with regard to monthly remuneration to be paid to the candidates engaged on academic basis.”
The order further reads, “…lecturers and teaching assistants engaged on academic arrangement basis in Govt Degree Colleges of the state which has been interpreted variedly by different principals. It is therefore enjoined upon all the principals of the government degree colleges to draw and disburse the monthly remuneration of academic arrangement candidates as per the following instructions.”
“The Lecturers and Teaching Assistants in place on 23/01/14…upto 22/01/2015 shall be paid the monthly remuneration of Rs 15000 and Rs 10000 respectively…from 23/01/2015 shall be paid Rs 18000 and Rs 12000 respectively,” reads the order.
This order has put both the principals as well as contractuals in catch-22 situation as many contractuals have left the colleges and many even went aboard making it almost impossible to recover the dues.
“This means every lecturer has to pay back Rs 30, 000 and every teaching assistant Rs 20, 000 towards the government for their delayed response. It amounts to more than 3 crore rupees,” said contractuals with gloomy tones.
Despite repeated calls, Minister for Education, Nayeem Akhtar did not respond.