In a determined effort to challenge the dominance of unethical alliances within the teaching community, the Teacher’s Voice United Front (TVUF) has unveiled its lineup for the upcoming PUTA (Panjab University Teachers’ Association) election. During a press conference held in this regard, TVUF’s members also presented their manifesto.
“Our objective is clear and straightforward: we aim to rejuvenate Panjab University’s former prestige. Numerous pressing issues pertaining to teaching, teachers, and administration demand our attention. We can no longer afford to ignore them,” stated Ashok Kumar, addressing the media after introducing TVUF’s manifesto.
Ashok Kumar, a faculty member in the Department of Hindi, is running for the position of President. Other members of the panel include Harmail Singh (CDOE/USOL) for Vice President, Kulwinder Singh (UBS) for Secretary, Vinod Kumar (Sociology) for Joint Secretary, Jaget Singh (UIET) for Treasurer, Sudhir Mehra (English and Cultural Studies) for Group I, and Minto Rattan (UIET) for Group III.
The panel members criticized the current PUTA team, asserting that it has failed on all fronts and cannot claim any significant achievements. They argued that the credit for any progress is due to the efforts of teachers, without any involvement from the sitting PUTA panel.
Harmail Singh pointed out, “The ongoing candlelight protest spanning over 70 days for the release of the 7th Pay Commission arrears has been initiated by concerned teachers, with no significant support from the current PUTA members. This served as a catalyst for us to form this panel, as we believed that we need to take matters into our own hands.”
Kulwinder Singh emphasized, “Chairpersons are a vital component of our administrative structure. We will streamline the support system for them, both in terms of manpower and finances. We are committed to establishing a fear-free environment that fosters academic excellence. TVUF will actively advocate for including UGC Faculty under the Faculty Recharge Program (FRP) in the seniority list and will work towards increasing the retirement age of teachers to 65 years.”
According to the TVUF manifesto, the panel will push for the reinstatement of the old pension scheme for all at the Punjab government level and implement an LTC (Leave Travel Concession) policy similar to that in Haryana. TVUF aims to reimburse employees for house repairs in the residential campus. The panel also focuses on faculty recruitment, ensuring that no department has vacant positions before the start of the academic session, and promoting greater representation of Assistant Professors in various committees.
Vinod Kumar added, “Other key issues we will address include implementing a ‘one person, one post’ policy at the administrative level, providing Wi-Fi services in residential campuses, and guaranteeing healthcare for teachers. We will prioritize completing the accessibility audit for RPWD (Rights of People with Disabilities) within the first two months of taking office.”
The panel also expressed its commitment to resuming the process of establishing a Resident Welfare Association (RWA) for Panjab University, which was hindered by the PUTA 2022-23 leadership under Prof Supinder and Prof Naura. Additionally, they pledged to resolve the confusion surrounding PHD increments, ensuring that the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) promotions do not pose problems for individuals, and maintaining swiftness and transparency in related processes.
The panel alleged that the previous PUTA President had violated the PUTA constitution by failing to organize a single General Body Meeting (GBM) and Executive meeting. They also criticized the election declaration through email rather than in the Annual General Body Meeting.
“We are committed to strictly adhering to the PUTA Constitution,” concluded Ashok Kumar, the President-designate of TVUF.