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An agriculture university that can not pay its teachers

Teachers at Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Kumarganj, Faizabad are on a non-cooperation movement since December 17 last year, reports Pankaj Jaiswal.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2010 09:13 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal

Teachers at Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology, Kumarganj, Faizabad are on a non-cooperation movement since December 17 last year. Though like the rest of the state employees they too want sixth pay commission benefits, their immediate demand is that they be paid salaries. For the past four months they have not been paid salaries.

So there’s no teaching, no exams, and no research work being carried out. How can there be any when all the 1200 students have gone home? Hostels are vacant.

“On top of this the university administration is trying to suppress the agitation by filing FIRs against the union leaders,” alleged Narendra Deva University of Agriculture and Technology Teachers’ Association (NUTA) president, Dr Ram Pratap Singh.

The university has come to a standstill. All teachers and daily wage employees are on strike.

This is not for the first time that salary problem has cropped up at the university. For the past two and half years the problem existed. So whenever the teachers were paid, it was in bits and pieces.

The vice-chancellor of the university, Dr Basant Ram said there was no money to pay salaries. According to him the problem has its origin in 1998 when the university’s budget was frozen and his predecessors did nothing to unlock the freeze. They instead kept on paying salaries by diverting research and construction funds, which exacerbated the problem. It needed a sorting out at the government level.

NUTA president does not buy VC’s arguments. He said: “If there was such a fund crunch to pay the existing staff, then why the university appointed more people by filling up the vacant posts. They have spent Rs 300 crore from government on construction, roads and electricity. Those things could been kept on hold.”

Akhilesh Singh, president of the employees’ union said: “It’s not that the students vanished on their own. The Registrar issued orders for emptying the hostels after postponing exams.”

Both the unions—the teachers and employees--have petitioned the government several times—be it all the principal secretaries and ministers of the departments concerned, chief minister’s principal secretary or the cabinet secretary—on the issue.