Bhubaneswar: The hunger protest of the Utkal University Teachers’ Association (UUTA), reached its third day while the Vice Chancellor went to Delhi. After the failure of the Vice Chancellor to fulfil all the demands by 31st August, the collective resumed its protest on Gandhi Jayanti with a relay hunger strike seeking attention of the university authorities towards their long due demands. On the Third day, Dr. Siba Sankar Mohanty, Joint Secretary-UUTA and Dr. Priya Ranjan Dash, Executive member UUTA continued with the relay hunger strike.
The teachers under the banner of UUTA had a prolonged agitation earlier for almost 15 days during July 2018, unprecedented in the recent history of university. The demands included immediate implementation of Career Advancement Scheme (CAS), implementation of the 7th Pay –Scale Revision Committee recommendations, immediate repair of residential quarters, confirmation of faculty members, advance increment for M.Phil/Ph.D holders, redesignation of Readers, recruitment of Non-Teaching staff, NPS arrears and insurance schemes among other demands.
The Vice Chancellor in his effort to dissuade the protesters told that he did not have any proposals related to the demand of the teachers and files are not reaching him. He refused to give any promise in writing to the community related to the demand of the teachers. However, it was found that many of the files that the VC was claiming to have not received were actually kept on his table.
Since his joining as the Vice Chancellor of Utkal University in July last year, the VC has remained absent in his office on most occasions and because of his inaction, many important files are not getting through the administrative approval. While the VC keeps on lying that the files are not reaching him in time, the realty is somewhat different. Some members of UUTA located personal files of 11 faculty members in the heaps of files rotting in the VCs chamber since July. The teaching community feels restless as many of their urgent needs remain unaddressed because of the want of approval from the Vice Chancellor. Instead of focusing on his administrative duties, the VC is remaining absent from office in the name of his engagement in other activities. It is worthwhile to note that the VC has made several visits to the new campus of the university site at Chandikhol while no substantial work has been done there. “The present Vice Chancellor and the Registrar should be removed from their office if they fails to perform” Said Prof. K.B. Panda, Secretary UUTA.
Owing to the pressure of the teachers, the working Vice Chancellor, Prof. Brahma Nanda Satapathy brought out a progress report on 3rd October 2018 on behalf of the VC in his absence, that actually shows no progress on the demands by UUTA. “We shall continue our protest and shall appeal the Chancellor of the university, His Excellency, Governor of Odisha to intervene in the matter. UUTA would also request the teachers association of other universities of the state to express their solidarity with the struggle by UUTA. Two members, Dr. Siba Sankar Mohanty, Joint Secretary-UUTA and Dr. Priya Ranjan Dash, Executive member UUTA are continuing the relay hunger strike on its third day”. Prof. Kunja Behari Panda, Secretary-UUTA mentioned through a press release today.