With no salaries for the past three months, an unprecedented crisis is brimming in lives of the teaching and non-teaching staff of 12 Delhi University (DU) colleges which are fully funded by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government.
These 12 institutions are Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Maharishi Valmiki B.Ed College, Maharaja Agrasen College, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women, Indira Gandhi College of Physical Education, Bhaskaracharya College, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, Acharya Narendra Dev College, Bhagini Nivedita College and Keshav Mahavidyalaya. Established almost 25 years ago, these colleges have a younger teaching staff, who are shouldering the responsibilities of families by borrowing money or using their savings.
Commenting on the crisis, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that salaries are not being paid due to graft in colleges. Earlier this month, Sisodia said, “23 percent of this year's fund amounting Rs 56 Crore of this fiscal year has already been released.”
Condemning Sisodia’s statement, Professor Balaram Pani, Dean of Colleges on August 14 released a statement with a detailed explanation on the audit and increase in expenditure. Standing in solidarity with the colleagues, the Delhi University Teachers' Association is conducting a press conference on August 18 as employees struggle to meet their ends.
Earlier, there have been reports on the tussle between the Kejriwal-led government and the DU over the formation of the governing body in these 12 colleges.
“It is difficult for us to sustain ourselves as there no salaries paid to us for three months now,” said Sujit Kumar, Associate Professor Department of Commerce, Dr BR Ambedkar College University of Delhi. Juggling between EMIs and regular expenses, Kumar added that with an emphasis on online education I am also managing by sharing just one laptop with my son who is also preparing for OBE.
“I have left many other job opportunities to be a teacher and after years of making the choice, I am denied what is rightfully mine. Whatever is unresolved between the government and the administration must not mean denying colleges the salaries,” he added.
However, following the allegations of graft by the Delhi government, Dr Mahaveer Genwa, President Staff Association Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College on August 17 also wrote to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and VP Venkaiah Naidu and sought for appointment to “resolve the issue of inordinate delay in disbursal of salaries of the concerned colleges.”
“All these colleges have not received funds from the Delhi Government to pay salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff since the past three months. Non-payment of salaries has severely affected all the employees of 12 Colleges of the University of Delhi, fully funded by the Government of Delhi during this pandemic,” Genwa wrote in the letter. The crisis has particularly put the lives of ad-hoc, guest faculty and contractual employees at peril as the salaries are a source of sustenance, he added.
He also highlighted the plight of employees who have retired and to whom they are not able to pay the pension or an ex gratia amount in lieu thereof to enable them to sustain themselves.
Further narrating a personal experience, Genwa added, “With no money, there is hardly anything to manage. What do we do! There is no salary, no payments to be done. The landlord keeps knocking for rent while I conduct online class, and the school sends notices for payment of tuition fee while also ensuring internet charge for online classes.”
While some teachers are relying on their partners’ earnings and using collective savings to make ends meet. “So far I’ve been sending money home but now I will have to start taking money from home,” said Professor Jiran Meitieat, Agrasen college.