Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab’s Senior Leader and Leader of Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema has urged Sohan Singh, who has been protesting for 16 days for regular ETT teachers in the state’s capital Chandigarh, to come down, while demanding the resignation of Education Minister Pargat Singh. Harpal Singh Cheema had reached the MLA hostel in Sector 4 on Saturday to meet Sohan Singh and his fellow protesters sitting on the dharna for their demands, where he spoke to Sohan Singh on the phone.
At the protesting site ETT teachers Kamal Thakur, Gurmukh Singh, Chamkaur Singh, Gurveer Singh, Rahul Chopra, Aman Kumar, Gaurav Sharma, Mandeep Sidhu and Jatinderpal Singh also handed over their demand letter to Harpal Singh Cheema.
Harpal Singh Cheema said, “Punjab’s Education Minister Pargat Singh has himself admitted that the education department has made a mistake in the case of 180 ETT regular teachers, but their government instead of righting their wrongs, has decreased the salary of these teachers.” He said that 180 permanently employed ETT teachers are protesting to get justice from the government by climbing a tower a few yards away from Chief Minister Channi’s residence and their fellow teachers are protesting in front of Education Minister Pargat Singh’s Jalandhar residence. Cheema said that if the Congress government did not listen to Pargat Singh then he has no moral right to stay in the government and continue as Education Minister.
The AAP leader alleged that the Channi government is treating ETT teachers inhumanely. Charanjit Singh Channi is such a useless and weak Chief Minister who is running away. Instead of listening the issue these teachers, he has asked the authorities to play loud DJs at the protest sites so that the Chief Minister can’t hear the voices of the protesters. He said that on the one hand the Chief Minister and the Education Minister are claiming that their schools are number one, and on the other hand their teachers are climbing at water tanks and towers for their legitimate demands and rights.
Harpal Singh Cheema said that these 180 ETT teachers were recruited by the education department in 2016 and regularized in 2018. But after five years of service, the education department fired these teachers and later reinstated them on the orders of the High Court. The government has fraudulently reduced the salaries of these teachers, which is sheer bullying and cruelty. He said that it is ridiculous that the Education Minister has sent the file to the Finance Department to resolve the issue of 180 ETT teachers but the top officials of the Finance Department are not taking any decision.
Harpal Singh Cheema said that Aam Aadmi Party supports these teachers and demands from Chief Minister Channi that the demands of these teachers should be met immediately and the lives of teachers sitting on the towers and tanks including Sohan Singh should be saved. He said that if Congress government could not resolve the issue of ETT teachers due to bureaucratic pressure then they shouldn’t be in power.