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Exploitation: What Else Can They Do?

By Fahad Shah

05 August, 2011

What if educational institutions are shut? Will that bother government? Seems negative! Only a blind can say students are getting education, here in valley, when educators are on hunger strike for days now. They are there on road, away from homes, even in this month of Ramdhan, when everyone tries his/her best to reach home before Iftaar . They keep fast, drinking a glass of water both in Sehri and Iftaar . So what, it doesn't bother anyone out here?

For many months we have seen contractual lecturers of 35 colleges on brief strikes and sit-in's to press government for their genuine demands. When the patience was responded with deaf ears and false promises they united under an organisation (College Contractual Teachers Association) and stood for a stronger sacrifice. They decided to go on hunger strike till the demands are not met. This led to the failure of whole education system in colleges and students are suffering of their studies. Government appointed these lecturers on contract basis to lessen the cries of unemployment but they are always kept hostage for certain things. They are not permanent. They can be removed from services. They are paid lesser than usual lecturers. They are transferred to far flung areas which costs them more in daily expenditure. They are ordered to teach six lectures a day. They are all overage; now, if they will be removed from services they are ruined. They can't get any job then. But seems it hardly matters for the people holding power in this state.

Lord Acton has well said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The top brass of the state enjoys all benefits of power and get corrupted too. They make and break laws for their own benefits but they never hear to pleas of local masses who give them that power.

This year on March 28, the state assembly passed a bill for raising the monthly salary of the Chief Minister from Rs 45,300 to Rs 90,300 per month while that of cabinet ministers from Rs 40,300 to Rs 85,300 per month. The salary of Ministers of State, MLAs and MLCs was raised from Rs 40,300 to Rs 80,300 per month. The salary of the Speaker was also hiked to Rs 90,000 per month. And adding to it the revised salary structure for ministers and legislators was implemented retrospectively with effect from September 1, 2009 .

This is what people are paying for. The power holders enjoy all hikes and perks but when common man knocks at their doors for justice they fell deaf. When government can pass bills for ministers and MLA's, for people who are in government then why not common employees who build future of this state. These lecturers groom buds of this land to build their career. So how long would this exploitation continue?

There are people working on 1500 rupees a month in many government departments. Hardly a minister or MLA raised this issue in assembly ever, except MLA Er. Rasheed. Back door entries continue, scams, scandals, killings continue in this land of conflict and then adding further to the miseries of common people exploitation of labour continues at large extension.

Nearly 80 percent of syllabus is yet to be taught at many colleges and ministers sitting in their cosy offices claim of 80 percent syllabus completed. First they give wounds and then rub salt over them. The day is not far away when there will be a mass protest against secretariat for exploiting students, employees, labours. This state is leading to a workers revolution. When exploitation of labour takes pace revolt is inevitable. Though it will not be a surprise to see employees being fired tear gas shells and then called “misguided men”. This is what history says to us and the present we witness.

In the 2011 state budget Daily Wage rate was hiked from 110 per day to 125 per day. If counted for a month it is 3750 rupees only. What on earth can you do for 125 rupees a day and run a family on it? A daily wager works more than the permanent employees. He/she is hardworking, dreaming one day he/she will be put on permanent rolls. But when for years this never concretes they are bound to come on roads and protest. State should have listened to daily wagers, contractual lecturers, many people who work under Rehbar schemes before passing that bill in assembly.

How much worse can we see, then this that people who educate your children and make them able to become something in life, are on road, in a makeshift tent on hunger strike. How that sounds to you, huh?

Did anyone of you sitting in assembly, talking big things before elections, try to visit press colony and meet them. You are busy with your luxurious lives, Ah! You might be out of station. Holidaying, perhaps!

Fahad Shah is a journalist from Srinagar, Kashmir . He is editor of the online magazine, The Kashmir Walla (www.thekashmirwalla.com).



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