‘Forced to sell belongings, all savings depleted’: Over 600 lecturers struggle to make ends meet
Srinagar: Around 600 contractual lecturers posted in various colleges of the valley continue to suffer silently as government has not released their salaries for the last nine months.
Each year, the Higher Education Department engages lecturers on academic arrangement basis.
However, post Article 370 abrogation, these lecturers are in a lurch, more so in the times of Coronavirus.
“We too have a family to support. In these hard times, the government has ignored us and we are facing difficulties to even feed our families,” said Dr Yousuf Negroo, presently posted in Government Degree College (GDC) Shopian.
He said they have been in the Higher Education Department since 2003 and have worked on low wages even in far-flung areas including Gurez, Tanghdar, Leh, Kargil, Samba, Kathua, and Poonch and still, their hard work counts for nothing.
“We have protested many times against the injustice but the government does not care. Later we approached court which ordered the immediate release of salaries. Still, government didn’t release our salaries from August 2019 though we are continuously working in different colleges on court orders,” Dr Negroo said.
He said from time to time they have approached many officials including Advisor K K Sharma who assured them of timely intervention but nothing has been done on the ground so far.
Bashir Ahmad Dar, another contractual lecturer working in GDC Tral, said: “We have not received salaries since August last year. I have sold the gold ornament of my wife to meet the expenses of my family. Since the threat of corona is not over, I am struggling to feed my family.”
He said all his saving has been spent in the last nine months.
“Higher authorities had harassed the status quo candidates by issuing verbal instructions to different principals of the valley not to release our salaries. The principal even disengaged around 150 candidates,” Bashir Ahmad said.
“Most of the candidates working in the system have crossed the upper age limit or are on the verge of becoming highly qualified overage unemployed youth. They are not eligible for any government job now,” he said.
Director Colleges, Yaseen Shah refused to comment.
Media Spokesperson to Advisor K K Sharma, Afaq Ahmad, said, “We have received a letter from college contractual lecturers and have forwarded it to Advisor Sharma. Due to the lockdown, all the official work has come to a halt.”
He said that the issue of their salaries will be taken up once the situation eases.