College officials say they are finding it extremely difficult to clear salary backlog
Not having received their salaries since May 2013, members of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), who include about 600 teachers in the district, have decided to go on an indefinite strike after July 19 after colleges have processed admissions for the new academic session.
Officials at some of the colleges said they were finding it extremely difficult to clear the salary backlog. Many colleges in the city that have branches elsewhere have even taken out loans from the latter to pay the teachers, saying they no longer had the funds for disbursing salaries. Of the over 1,600 college teachers in the state, about 600 are in Ludhiana in addition to the more than 2,000 nonteaching employees, all of whom have been hired for state grant-in-aid positions at colleges. Government-aided colleges have claimed they had not received any financial grants from the office of director public instruction (colleges) for a long time.
While the state funds 95% of these teachers’ salaries, colleges have to pay the rest. “State education department officials have done nothing to release the financial grants to colleges. For how long can colleges afford to pay teachers’ salaries from their own funds? As teachers haven’t been paid for over a year we’ve been forced to go on an indefinite strike, ”said PCCTU general secretary Kuldip Singh. RS Jhanji, principal of AS College, Khanna, said: “It has become increasingly difficult to pay the teachers as the college hasn’t gotten any grant-in-aid for the past 13 months. Many colleges have been constrained to secure loans for paying the salaries.
It’s the responsibility of the DPI (colleges) to release the funds on time.” Meanwhile, SS Deol, president of the Association of Principals of Colleges Affiliated to PU, Chandigarh, said, “Teachers have been demanding their salaries for months but we don’t have enough funds to pay them. Most colleges haven’t paid their teachers for the past six to eight months.”
A nonteaching staff member, who wished not to be named, said: “With inflation soaring and everything from milk to fuel becoming dearer by the day, we’re finding it tough to survive as most employees are the sole breadwinners in their families. Every time we ask college officials for our salaries, they shrug off responsibility by saying they can’t do anything till the education department releases financial grants to colleges.”
However, when contacted, DPI (colleges) Gurdev Singh Ghuman claimed: “We’ve released the financial grants to the state treasury branch at Chandigarh and h ave cleared the entire backlog. The branch now has to transfer the funds online to the respective colleges.”