After failing to pay salaries to teachers for February, Panjab University (PU) on Thursday moved the Punjab and Haryana high court, seeking contempt proceedings against the University Grants Commission (UGC) for its failure to release pending grant worth Rs 30 crore. On January 19, the HC had ordered the UGC to release the grant within four weeks.
UGC is a grant-giving agency that provides funds and works towards coordination, determination and maintenance of standards in institutions of higher education.
The varsity spends approximately Rs 25-26 crore on the salaries of PU staff (teaching + non-teaching) plus Rs 6 crore on pensions a month. So, Rs 32 crore is spent on salaries a month, of which 45% is spent on the salaries of the teaching staff at PU.
PU had released the salaries of the non-teaching staff and pensions worth Rs 14 crore on Wednesday night. After releasing this amount, PU is left with Rs 15-20 crore to manage routine expenditure.
PU vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said, “Since the Supreme Court website shows that the UGC has filed a petition on this, we are also moving the HC.”
“Previously, we had told the court that we will not be able to pay the salaries. Now, we have failed to pay salaries of everyone. We must inform court about the situation. Our apprehensions were not ill-founded,” he said.
The V-C added, “By Friday evening, we will get to know how much income we have. We cannot use the entire income, as we have electricity bills and water bills to be paid. Examination material has to be transported and papers have to be marked.”
A few senators have raised questions on PU’s failure to release salaries. They have blamed the decision of extending the date of the examination fee. One of the senators said that had the syndicate not extended the date for depositing examination fee by 15 days, salaries could have been released by now.
Teachers could get salary by March
Sources in the varsity’s finance department said, “We are receiving examination fees on a daily basis and depending on the inflow, we may release salaries of teaching faculty on March 6.”
Sharing one of the reasons of the financial crisis, Professor Grover said, “Over the past six years, PU has not hiked the tuition fee.”