Corona Crisis: As Sisodia, Atishi Hold Back Salary, Teachers, Staff of 12 Delhi University Colleges on Verge of Starvation

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            Manish Sisodia and Atishi Marlena interacting with a principal on March 18

 

New Delhi: In the midst of Corona lockdown, teachers and administrative staff belonging to 12 Delhi University colleges funded by Delhi Government has been left starving. While State’s Finance Minister Manish Sisodia, who also is also Education Minister, has gone to town claiming setting aside a huge portion of Budget for education, however, on Ground Zero over 2000 teachers and support staff of these colleges are finding it tough to survive in the absence of salary.

The Delhi Government has so far released two-third of the grant for the financial year 2019-20 for these colleges and held back the grant for the last quarter as the newly-elected government wanted such governing bodies in these colleges which could toe its line. Education Minister Manish Sisodia and his adviser in these matters, Atishi Singh aka Marlena summoned principals of these 12 colleges over two days on March 18 and 19 and dictated to them the names of the Chairpersons of the GB to be elected failing which the salaries were not to be distributed.

Dr Rajesh Jha, the elected teacher representative on the Delhi University’s executive council told this reporter, “The GB formation should not be linked to the funding. It is a matter of deep concern that the employees of 12 colleges of Delhi Govt (100% funded) have not received the salaries of the last three months and COVID 19 pandemic has furthered the crisis.”

A teacher working in one of the 12 Delhi-Govt funded colleges said, “The non-release of the grants has created acute crisis in such colleges. It has become difficult for the faculty and employees of these colleges to sustain their families and honour their financial commitments like EMIs. They are on the verge of becoming the defaulters. The emerging pandemic scenario has added to their woes.”

The Delhi Government had sent the panel of names for the GBs of 28 Delhi Government Colleges, 12 fully-funded (100%) and 16 partly funded (5%), on December 9, 2019.  Following the assembly elections, it was brought before the DU EC, which approved the same on March 13, 2020.

Thereafter Sisodia-Marlena caucus got into the act of having GB chairperson of their own choice, and held back the salaries as blackmail till the polls were held. “Following the lockdown, there is no way that these polls can be held before end-April. Would that mean no salaries. The very thought is so depressing,” said one such college employee.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah could use his recent bonhomie with the Delhi Government to cajole a stubborn Education Minister and his aide to release the funds and save people from starving.

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