The new year started on a grim note for professors of 28 state-funded colleges of Delhi University (DU). Due to an ongoing row between DU and the Delhi government, these professors greeted the new year with no salary in their pockets – which is the result of the government’s decision to freeze funds in July last year.
In July 2017, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had decided to discontinue the financial aid provided by the Delhi government to colleges sending a wave of panic across the university.
As a result, the funding to 28 colleges of DU, including prominent ones like Gargi College, Kamala Nehru College, Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Shaheed Rajguru College, Maharaja Agrasen College and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, was halted as the colleges had been operating without governing bodies.
Now caught in the crossfire between DU and the Delhi government, professors claim that they do not have money to pay off their children’s fees, rent of their houses, and EMIs. For these professors, it is nowhere close to ‘Happy’ New Year – as most greeted 2018 but with empty pockets.
S K Garg, principal of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, which is fully funded by the Delhi government, is foreseeing a financial crisis unfolding at his college.
“We are neither in a position to pay salary to our staff nor do we have funds for paying electricity, water and telephone bills. Financially, everything is held up, as we have not paid our outsourced security staff and sanitation staff,” Garg said, adding that the college had to divert funds to ensure basic functioning of the institution.
“We cannot afford disconnection of electricity and water services so we have diverted the funds ideally meant for extra-curricular activities to pay the salary of our staff and essential services” he added. “So far, we have paid two months’ salary from our own savings and examination fees collected from our students but now we are penniless,” Garg informed.
Professors in the varsity have termed the salary cut as an arm-twisting measure by the central university due to an ongoing tussle between the state government and Centre’s interest – which has led to financial crippling of professors’ expenditure.
Bhupinder Kumar Chaudhary, associate professor of history at Maharaja Agrasen College, another fully-funded college of Delhi government, said, “Today, a middleclass family has its house running on EMI and if teachers are not receiving their salary, they are bound to run into financial difficulties within the first week of every month.
“How will we meet the monthly EMI deadline, how do we pay off the school fees of our children and other regular expenses? Some have to pay their rent by 7th or 10th of the month. Is this being taken into consideration?” Chaudhary wondered.
Keshav Mahavidyalaya has been able to pay off the salaries on time, but it is the routine functioning of the college that has suffered a setback and is likely to be put on a back burner soon.
“Shortage of funds will soon lead to academic crisis and second semester will be paralysed. How are we expected to conduct activities like symposium without enough money?” said Pradeep Kumar, professor of computer science at Keshav Mahavidyalaya.
Aware of the crisis, a senior official of Delhi government’s education department, told MAIL TODAY that as soon as the names for governing body panel are sent to the government, funds to the colleges will be released with immediate effect.
“Delhi government will release the salary as soon as the names of panel members of governing body are submitted to us by the university,” said the official, on condition of anonymity.