New Delhi: In a significant victory for a section of Delhi University (DU) teachers in twelve DU colleges the grants for their salaries were released by the Delhi government on Friday. The move came a day after the central varsity was “shutdown” for an indefinite period at the call of the teachers’ association.
“The Delhi Government has released the sanction letter of Rs 82,79,79,507 under salary head and an amount of Rs 9,50,90,500 under other than salaries’ head,” Rajib Ray, president, Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), said on Friday afternoon.
The grants were released to the 12 university colleges which are fully funded by the Delhi Government. They are: Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Bhagini Nivedita College, Acharya Narendra Dev College, Maharishi Balmiki College of Education, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Science, Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Science, Maharaja Agrasen College and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College.
Teachers and non-teaching workers in these colleges were bearing the brunt of irregular and delayed release of funds – a bone of contention between the colleges, DU, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government – for over a year now.
Following non-payment of salaries “for more than 4-6 months” this time, DUTA wrote to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday to “convey the anguish and anger” of teachers and to inform the CM that “no other option” was left with them but “to call for a complete shut-down of the University.”
“The DUTA has been writing to you for more than a year now communicating its dismay at the manner in which your government is treating the employees by linking release of grants and payment of salaries, pension, medical bills and other dues of employees with extraneous reasons that are neither the making of the employees nor in their control,” the letter had read.
“… the adamant position of the Government has left us with no other option but to call for a complete shut-down of the University till such time as the crisis is not resolved,” added DUTA.
On Friday morning, staff association meetings were held in almost all the DU colleges to discuss the university shutdown call, while dharnas were staged by the teachers and the non-teaching staff of the concerned 12 colleges.
Abha Dev Habib, DUTA treasurer, told Newsclick that the shutdown call was “quite effective”. “Throughout the pandemic, the teachers, even when they were in a deep crisis, continued with their duties – taking online classes, conducting exams and even assisting during the admission process. But the continued delay in the salary has only pushed them (the teachers) to strike,” she said.
Asked whether the released grant on Friday was enough to cover all the pending payments, she said that would “have to be seen post discussions”. Dr. Balram Pani, Dean of Colleges of DU, was unavailable for a comment despite repeated calls.
Habib added that the ‘shutdown’ call was given not just because of the salary issues but also against the “unilateral” decision of the AAP government to merge DU’s College of Art with Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) as well.
“An emergent meeting of the executive members will be held by tomorrow in which all this will be discussed and a further decision of the shutdown call will be taken,” she said.
Meanwhile, Bhupinder Chaudhary, associate professor of History in Maharaja Agrasen College felt relieved to know about the release of salary grants. “We haven’t received our salaries for the last three months. Before that as well the salary for the month of October and November were paid only after the administration took a loan from the college’s ‘Students Society Fund’,” he said.
Chaudhary added that the salary delays have affected the personal lives of the teachers and hoped to received the pending monthly payment soon.