15/06/2016 2:54 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST

Unpaid For Months, Punjab Teachers Work As Farm And Construction Labourers To Make Ends Meet

A farmer is silhouetted as he works on a piece of arid land on the outskirts of Amritsar, India, Wednesday, June 24, 2009. India's monsoon rainfall, the main source of irrigation for the country's 235 million farmers, may be below normal this year, the government said on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Professionally qualified teachers with masters degrees have been forced to work as farm labourers in several Punjab provinces, Tribune says in an exclusive report. These teachers who are employed in government-funded schools have not been paid for over 6 months and they have to keep attending work in the hope of getting their salaries. So as the summer holidays set in, the teachers have taken to working as farm hands and construction workers to make ends meet.

"Earning meagre salaries of between Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,500, a number of teachers in the state - sans salaries for the past six months – are forced to pursue manual labour to make ends meet. The aforesaid duo – among dozens of other associates in neighbouring villages – have been pursuing manual labour to make ends meet in the summer holidays," Tribune reports.

The report begins with a reference to Kulwant Rai, a M Sc degree holder, who has also completed his B.Ed and holds an IT degree. A teacher with a local government primary school in Shekhupur village in Phillaur, Rai has not been paid for the past 6 months. When the report was filed by Tribune, Rai was tilling land owned by a local landlord for Rs 250 a day. Prior to that, Rai had worked as a construction labourer for Rs 250-Rs 300 a day.

Rai, who has a family of five and is the sole breadwinner for them, told Tribune: "I joined the education department as education provider nine years ago with BA B.Ed qualification and later did MA Economics and M.Sc, while working. I had hoped to up my qualification and get better paying job but here I am, tilling others’ land. There are matric-pass JBT teachers who are serving as BPEOs in the department. But qualified teachers like us are forced to do menial jobs to take care of families.”