Infrastructure maintenance and acute water shortage are the main problems
Teachers of polytechnic colleges have pinned their hope on the new government to get their long-pending issues resolved. Some of the issues pertain to pay anomalies and the others to institutional infrastructure.
The Department of Higher Education has sent out a circular to the 22 government polytechnic colleges seeking to know their infrastructure requirements. The colleges have been instructed to send in the details by June 10.
Teachers say there are sufficient buildings, but there are other requirements that need attention. “Maintenance of infrastructure is an issue,” a college principal said. “For instance, we invested in air-conditioning units but they are not working now. If we make a claim for the expenses, it is rejected as there is no allocation for it. We have asked for an annual maintenance contract, but we have been refused,” he said.
A teacher pointed out that an annual maintenance contract would also help to protect computer systems. “Computer systems normally come with one-year warranty. Until the warranty expires, the system is protected from virus attacks. We do not have the permission to install firewalls. There is a threat of the systems being hacked,” he said.
Established colleges face an acute water shortage, which they tide over by buying from metro water tankers. “Established, older colleges have hostel facilities too, and hence water requirement is higher. It would be better if the government installs a few bore-wells on the campus,” said the principal of a government polytechnic college.
Polytechnic teachers say the anomalies in the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have not been sorted out yet. Also, the government has recovered money from many teachers who have retired. Principals who retired in January and February are yet to be paid their retirement benefits to the tune of ₹30 lakh.
The induction of excess teachers from Annamalai University into the government polytechnic colleges has hindered their transfers, the teachers say. For instance, colleges in Cuddalore and Papanasam have been filled with excess teachers from Annamalai University. “These colleges always have a full strength, unlike the rest of the institutions. The situation is the same with non-teaching staff. I hope the new government will address these issues,” said a member of the polytechnic teachers’ association.
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