It was a harrowing Sunday for the residents of the city who had to battle complete traffic chaos as the heart of the city, Bharat Nagar Chowk, was blocked by hundreds of unemployed teachers from all over Punjab who were demanding jobs and protesting against the state government.
More than 14,000 teachers who have passed Teacher’s Eligibility Test (TET) in 2011 and 2013 are jobless and have been fighting for their rights for the past two years.
On Monday, the teachers first gathered opposite the mini-secretariat and raised slogans against the government and then they went on to do ‘chakka jaam’ and blocked traffic at Bharat Nagar Chowk.
The commuters had to battle traffic jams throughout the day as the protest which started around 12 noon went on till late evening as there was no response from the administration to the protesting teachers.
Till the filing of this report, the teachers were still sitting on the Ferozepur road at Bharat Nagar Chowk and traffic police was diverting the traffic from Jagraon bridge to Mata Rani Chowk and from the bus stand to Kochar market.
Hundreds of police personnel were deployed to avoid any untoward incident but the protest remained peaceful.
Deep Raja, from TET Passed Unemployed Teachers’ Union, Punjab, told Ludhiana Newsline: “We held multiple meetings with CM but with zero results. He has given nothing except assurances. Despite more than 40,000 posts lying vacant, we 14,000 teachers even after clearing TET are unemployed. After various efforts, the government advertised 5,078 posts but after that advertisement, nothing has been done to recruit those who applied. So now when nothing is happening, protest is the only way to make the government hear our voice. These protests will be intensified till our demands are met.”
ADCP Joginder Singh had summoned the teachers to call off their protest and promised fixing of a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. “They are assuring us a meeting with Deputy CM. So now for time being, we are planning to end the protest,” Raja added.