A protest was staged by DUTA (Delhi University Teacher’s Association) on Monday, where all the teachers and the non-teaching staff staged a protest. The protest was staged to press for the immediate release of funds to the colleges which are funded by the Delhi government. The delay in the release of funds has resulted in the salaries being due for many employees.
The protest was jointly called by the DUTA and the DUCKU (Delhi University and College Karamchari Union) and saw a gathering of 100 protestors outside the Vidhan Sabha of Delhi.
It has been alleged by the unions that the sanctioned grants have not been released to those colleges which are fully funded by the Delhi government. There are 12 such colleges. The non-disbursal of funds has resulted in the non-encashment of the medical bills and retirement benefits along with salary woes.
There are 28 colleges in Delhi University which are either fully or partially funded by the State government.
On Monday, DUTA called it ‘criminal’ of the Delhi government, in a press release, to withhold salaries. Despite the risk of getting infected, the teachers and employees came out on the streets on June 26. They said that they were not left with any other option other than taking a medically unwise, drastic step to come out and protest physically.
An associate professor at Maharaja Agrasen College (fully funded by the state government), Bhupinder Chaudhary said that they had not even received the salaries of the month of June. For the month of May, they were told that the college was facing difficulties in doing monthly payments. After this, the amounts were transferred from the capital account for the clearing of dues.
He added that the grants must be released to the colleges as early as possible, otherwise, their salaries will remain pending for the upcoming months also.
The governing bodies are a statutory group responsible for taking all the financial and administrative decisions. Reportedly, the non-formation of governing bodies has led the AAP government and the DU administration to lock horns. Both parties have accused each other of the delay in the process.
Since 2019, the allegations of delay in granting funds to colleges against the Delhi government have been flying. These allegations have persisted even during the pandemic.
The Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia, had asked the Directorate of Higher Education to initiate legal proceedings against the University in a letter, last week.
Balaram Pani, Principal of Bhaskaracharya Collee of Applied Sciences, believes that this should not allow the government to let colleges face a financial crunch. He told that out of the 140 names, 134 had been approved by the university administration in March. There were reservations regarding six names by the Executive Council. These names were sent back for reconsideration. The meetings of EC have been adjourned now, because of the pandemic.
Pani admitted that the college staff facing the brunt of the deadlock was unfortunate. After the students’ fund was diverted, the teachers were partially last paid for May at Bhaskaracharya College. The salaries of outsourced staff, including sanitary workers and security guards, have been pending since March.
Abha Dev Habib of DUTA said that the delay in releasing grants earlier began as an ugly political tussle over the formation of governing bodies. But now, they have been informed through unofficial means that the government of Delhi does not have funds. This is probably because of the pandemic. Whatever might be the case, the employees cannot be penalized by the government.
She also added that there is a complete lack of dialogue from the Delhi government. She said that the office-bearers of DUTA demanded to hold talks, but it went unheard.
A sense of apprehension only increases for the teachers and employees as days pass. There is no clarity over the payment of their salaries. Assistant professor Ravi Shankar Ravi said that they are already living in the fear of the coronavirus. Their lives are further disturbed by the non-payment of salaries.
Ravi alleged that not releasing grants might be a ploy to build pressure on the administration of the University. But these arm-twisting tactics are getting misfired at employees and teachers. He added that the teachers and the employees play no role in the formation of governing bodies.