Published: 20th January 2022
DUTA calls AAP's edu model a farce, continues to demand payment of salaries in 12 Delhi govt-funded colleges
The DUTA said that the teaching staff, non-teaching employees and contractual workers of the 12 Delhi government-funded colleges of DU have two to six months of salary pending
The University of Delhi's teachers have been protesting about the fact that 12 DU-affiliated colleges, which are funded by the Kejriwal government in Delhi, are yet to be allocated adequate funds for over two years now. But the teachers claim that every time there is a protest, the Delhi government releases a bit of the fund, but there is always a deficit. The DU Teachers' Association (DUTA) organised a press conference on January 20 and said that they will not only protest, but also show the country the 'reality' of the education system that the AAP government boasts of. Some teachers even said that they had initially thought that Kejriwal's AAP might actually work for education, but that has turned out to be a farce.
The DUTA said that the teaching staff, non-teaching employees and contractual workers of the 12 Delhi government-funded colleges of DU have two to six months of salary pending. The teachers recently led an online signature campaign regarding the same and have asked for the Lt Governor's intervention. Over 6,000 people have signed the petition. "The issue of irregular, delayed and now, non-payment of salaries and other dues like medical reimbursement of bills, allowances, arrears on account of seventh pay revision and promotions is going on for the past two years. The employees and their families are going through a tough time. In the absence of salaries for months, they are in debt and that too at a time when a pandemic is raging. Their basic home needs, payment of rent, EMIs, medical expenses, school or college fees of their wards are all being badly hit for the past two years," said DUTA President Dr AK Bhagi. "Is this the education model of the Delhi government where the employees’ salaries are delayed and denied?" he asked.
Former DUTA President Dr Nandita Narain said that many teachers like her had faith in the Aam Aadmi Party and thought that Kejriwal and his party would really work for the education sector. "But I am sad to say that that was just a facade. A party that boasts about its education model in Delhi has reduced us to beggars," she added.
Employees of these colleges have been made to suffer for no fault of theirs, said the teachers. Fund cuts have not only made payment of full salaries, other allowances and arrears impossible in these colleges, but it has also made the general maintenance and growth of these colleges difficult, they added.
This delay in payment of salaries is a violation of the human and constitutional rights of employees, said Dr Ashwini Shanker, a DUTA member. "It is negatively affecting the Right to Livelihood which is an essential and integral part of Right to Life. This is constitutionally guaranteed under Article 21 and its breach cannot be tolerated under any circumstance. Moreover, Article 23 of the Constitution of India recognises the fundamental right of the citizens of this country to not be compelled to work without wages. But the Government of Delhi is forcing these employees to work without it or have delayed their salary. This is a clear-cut violation of human rights," he added.
But there's a little more to the issue. The DUTA said that the government, through an executive order on December 20 last year, gave the charge of colleges to Administrative Officers appointed by the Government of Delhi. "These appointments are not in order as per the University Statutes. Moreover, there is a likely tussle between multiple authorities within the colleges and also between the university and the government. Therefore, this order must be withdrawn immediately," said Dr AK Bhagi. "Such attempts are nothing but unwarranted encroachment of Delhi government over the administrative autonomy of these colleges. The financial and administrative affairs of these colleges are managed as per Act, Statutes, Ordinances and other rules of University of Delhi and GFR of Government of India," he added.
After implementing the EWS quota, the seats have increased by 25 per cent but no funds have been allotted by the government to meet manpower as well as the physical infrastructure needs of these colleges, said Dr Bhagi. "Further, in the absence of grant-in-aid from the government, the running and maintenance of colleges have already taken a huge setback. For example, the telephone and internet lines of many colleges have already been disconnected due to non-payment of bills; the electricity and water supply bills, payment of property tax is pending and these departments are threatening to disconnect their services and initiate action," he added.
After several representations to the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi went in vain, the teachers also went to court and got direction for the release of salary and at intervals funds, it was released but only partially (Do you mean - at intervals, funds were released but only partially?). The teachers' group also approached the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission of India? Shall we specify?) for the release of salary. "All these resulted in temporary relief but the problem resurfaced due to a deficit of funds. Unfortunately, the Delhi government seems hell-bent on turning these colleges into financially sick institutions or shift forcibly to self-financing mode with a higher fee structure," said Dr Bhagi.