Delhi govt-funded colleges in DU struggle to pay staff salaries, bills

Twelve Delhi University (DU) colleges fully funded by the Delhi government are struggling to pay salaries to teaching and non-teaching staff, and electricity and other bills, for the last three months due to the shortage of funds.

Officials at Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College (DDU) said their phone and internet connections were disconnected as they could not pay the dues for four months.

While some of these colleges have paid salaries to their teaching staff for the month of May by diverting funds from other accounts, majority of them are yet to pay salaries for the last three months.

Although the Delhi government said it has released funds for salaries, officials at these colleges said the money is “insufficient”.

A senior official in the government’s finance department said there is a major shortage of funds because of the pandemic.

“Revenues have dropped. The Capital recorded revenue collections of less than 40% for the first four months of the financial year 2020-21 compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Till June, the government was facing difficulties even in paying salaries of employees. Large portions of funds were utilised in Covid management. The government has sought financial assistance of Rs 5,000 crore from the Centre but it is yet to receive any amount,” the official quoted above said.

Hem Chand Jain, principal of DDU, said their phone and internet connections were disconnected and electricity connection will be snapped soon.

“The college has Rs 17.6 crore deficit of which Rs 8 crore is required for the payment of salaries. The Delhi government has already paid Rs 2.3 crore twice in March and April but it was not sufficient. Our monthly expenditure on salary payment is Rs 2.7 crore. We could not pay salaries to our teaching and non-teaching staff since May. How can the government think we would be able to meet all expenditures with such an insufficient fund?” he said.

Jain said the college could not pay electricity bills, property tax and other pending expenditures since April. “We are getting repeated calls from the electricity board. We could not pay the electricity bill for the last four months and now we have to pay Rs 40 lakh together. We are soon going to lose the connection if the amount is not paid at the earliest. It will be a big issue since we have staff and some international students living at the campus,” he said.

Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia said, “We have already released the salary funds but the government is also short of funds.”

A similar situation prevails in other 11 colleges, including Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Shaheed Rajguru College for Applied Sciences for Women, Maharaja Agrasen College and Acharya Narendra Dev College. There are around 1,200 teaching and 900 non-teaching staff members employed on a permanent basis in these colleges, other than the contractual staff.

DU’s Dean of Colleges Balaram Pani said the university had written to the Delhi government several times in the last three months over the issue. “In April, the colleges had a backlog of previous months. The funds received were also insufficient. If the college required Rs 7 crore, only Rs 2 crore was transferred to them. How is it even possible for the colleges to function in such circumstances,” he said.

Ravi Toteja, principal of Acharya Narendra Dev College, said, “We could not pay salaries to our teaching and non-teaching staff members since April. We are yet to pay our electricity and other bills. Our connection can be disconnected anytime soon.”

Beside salaries and bills, these colleges are struggling to maintain infrastructure and other facilities. Payal Mago, principal of Shaheed Rajguru College for Applied Sciences for Women, said, “The college has a sewage treatment plant at its campus. Due to the non-payment of salaries, the PWD removed the technician looking after the plant and now sewer water is flowing all over the campus. But we do not have funds to fix it.” The college paid electricity bills till last month, diverting funds from students’ funds.

DU Teachers’ Association president Rajib Ray said, “It’s absolutely inhuman that our colleagues working in these colleges are unpaid for the last three months. The government should immediately release all pending funds.”

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