A day after four high school teachers attempted suicide by consuming pesticide here seeking grant-in-aid to schools, two Janata Dal (Secular) MLCs, Puttanna and Marithibbe Gowda, staged a protest in front of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s office at the Vidhana Soudha seeking grant-in-aid to schools that opened between 1987 and 1995.
The MLCs alleged that the government had decided, in 2007, to provide grant-in-aid to Kannada-medium primary and secondary schools and pre-university colleges started by private managements between 1987 and 1995. While some schools were given grants, it stopped in 2009, during the north Karnataka floods, citing austerity measures.
They demanded the sacking of Minister for Higher Education R.V. Deshpande and punishment to corrupt officials.
Holding banners, the two MLCs staged a protest for more than two hours, alleging that Mr. Deshpande has been protecting Rajneesh Goyal, Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department, who allegedly received bribes to promote lecturers in engineering colleges in 2010. They urged the government to hand over the probe into the alleged recruitment scam in the Higher Education Department to the Karnataka Lokayukta.
They also demanded suspension of Technical Education Director H.U. Talwar.
They said the government has not released University Grants Commission and All India Council for Technical Education pay scales for college lecturers.
The guest lecturers are being paid negligible amounts as salary. They also demanded payment of Rs. 25,000 a month to guest lecturers, they said.
Stating that the quality of higher education has been suffering on account of a large number of vacancies in colleges, they urged the government to fill principal and lecturers’ posts.