SGPC schoolteachers, staff rue non-payment of salary - ECAS Punjab

SGPC schoolteachers, staff rue non-payment of salary

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GS Paul
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, October 27

More than 500 teachers and allied staff of SGPC-run schools complained of not getting salaries since March. However, the SGPC claimed it was due to Covid lockdown.

Malkeet Singh, a physical education teacher at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Public Senior Secondary School in Tarn Taran, said, "Covid lockdown has just been made as an excuse, whereas the irregularities prevailed for long in paying salaries, fixing grade and seniority. Teachers were forced to spare Rs 500 each as fund for the Tarn Taran elections. Teachers and non-teaching staff were made to contribute for whitewash and maintenance of school buildings. Due to such mental harassment, I chose to quit."

After the "Dharam Parchar", it is education that finds prominence in the SGPC's annual budget.

In 2019-2020 budget worth Rs 1,205 crore, the SGPC had allocated Rs 238 crore for its 53 aided and non-aided schools and 37 colleges.

Though the 2020-2021 budget was squeezed to 18 per cent, Rs 215 crore was proposed for education institutions. Of Rs 28.44 crore for raising the education graph in schools, Rs 11.34 crore was for salaries to teachers.

A teacher with the SGPC-run school in Amritsar called it a "gimmick" to show the figures in papers only. "I am unable to meet the monthly expenses of my family of four. Since the lockdown a majority of teachers have not been getting salaries though we are taking online classes," she said.

This is not the lone case as teachers in at least half of SGPC-run schools are going through the same situation. They approached government school unions to raise their cause.

Balkar Singh Valtoha, general secretary, Government School Teachers Union, Punjab, said teachers of half of the SGPC schools were struggling to get their dues. "We are contemplating to take up their issue with the state Labour Laws Department," he said.

SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal admitted that "some" school teachers were not paid dues. "SGPC's major income source is through donations. Due to Covid lockdown, it has come down to 30 per cent. Despite that we never laid off our staff whether in schools, offices or gurdwaras. As the situation is getting back to normal, the SGPC executive body has taken it on priority to pay the salaries," he said.

from The Tribune

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