Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
A senior faculty of Krupajal Engineering College, Bhubaneswar has confided in me that he and his colleagues holding faculty positions in the techno-educational institutes under the employer called KGI, are on the anvil for metamorphosis into bonded labours. They had been given draft copies of a Bond they were to sign and submit after authentication executed in Bond Papers, supplied to each of them (totaling 300) by the management of KGI on 29th August 2009, which they have complied with.
The Bond is so cunningly drafted that it shows the concerned teacher as having voluntarily offered to work as a Bonded labour in search of sustenance.
When in the first paragraph the teacher indicates his position, in the second he states, “I lawfully bond myself to serve the Institute /College at least for a period of 12 (twelve) calendar months / one academic session which is called as the bond period which in the present context i.e. for the academic session 2009-10 starts from 1st August 2009 to 31st July 2010”.
When the above statement makes it clear that the concerned teacher’s job is coterminous with the Bond after twelve months, oblivious of the fact that some of them have rendered continuous service for several years till date, every teacher is made to declare in the next paragraph that during the “bonded period” he/she cannot leave the Institute without completing the year’s course in its entirety. “I will ensure that my absence is not affecting the academics,” notes the vow under para.3.
In case the faculty leaves the Institution during the bonded period, he or she shall have to return the entire amount of money received as salary during the entire period of his /her tenure!
And, in the next paragraph the teacher makes the “employer i.e. KEC / KES / OCA / KBS / AMS / KITC” “empowered” “to recover the amount through due process of law” by stating therein that he or she shall be personally “liable for all incidental costs”.
I put here the copy of the draft of the bond for perusal by every faculty member of the above-mentioned employer as well as the employer, beseeching counter, if any, from one and all of them so that I would publish the same with a sense of relief that the teachers that are in a profession to build up technological man power in my State are not being compelled by private managements to distress-sell themselves as bonded labours.
In these pages on 24 July 2009, under the caption High Tech Teachers Treated Like Helots In Orissa, we had discussed how the teachers in these private Institutes / Colleges are perishing under unfair labour practice as the State has not yet framed and enforced Service Rules and Conditions of Services for them, even though massive growth of High Tech Institutes/ Colleges in the private sector has even encouraged mafia to explore the field.
Prof. Dr. Damodar Acharya, presently the Director of IIT, Kharagpur, who, as founder Vice Chancellor of BPUT, Orissa, was in the position of directly knowing the scenario of technical education in private sector here, has admitted in a TV interview on Friday that didactics in such Institutes in Orissa is in a mess. A former Chairman of AICTE, Dr. Acharya has expressed apprehensions that the private High Tech Institutes in Orissa are cultivating AICTE approval through manipulation inasmuch as the names and qualification of faculty members shown to AICTE are seldom the same as on their acquaintance rolls. Dr. Acharya’s observations are corroborative of our observations in these pages.
When a few of Orissa ministers are owners of some of these Institutes and in that capacity are the members of Orissa Private Engineering Colleges Associations and their activities are already extended to Medical education too, it is possible that if the KGI experimentation of acquiring Bonds this way would succeed, the others may adopt the technique with full immunity taking advantage of the power they enjoy. That would injure technical education beyond repair.
It is time, therefore, that the State as well as the AICTE / UGC should intervene and ensure that high tech teachers in the State are not reduced to bonded labours as such.