Bringing a relief to Panjab University (PU), the University Grants Commission (UGC) finally ordered the release of Rs 150 crore grant to the university on Monday.
After facing financial crisis for a year and witnessing several protests from students and teachers’ associations against inordinate delay in the release of grant, the PU issued a statement saying that the sanction order for the current financial year had been received. The statement read that the university had decided to release arrears of dearness allowance (DA) of the employees and pensioners.
Panjab University Teachers’ Association president Prof Akshaya Kumar said: “Receiving the grant after such a long wait does not call for any celebration. It’s good that the Union ministry of human resource development sensed our struggle that we undertook to get the funds released.”
“The PU was waiting for the grant for the past eight months and the authorities had to shuffle the funds to pay salaries to all the employees, that too without arrears and DA. Now the university needs to make sure that the process of release of the grants is regularised from now onwards as salary payment is the primary concern. An instalment of Rs 50 crore is also pending with the ministry,” said Kumar.
PU vice-chancellor (V-C) Prof Arun Kumar Grover said the amount would be spent on disbursement of salaries and pension.
Due to the lack of funds, the university couldn’t pay the DA since January last year. As per officials, grants from the Centre were required to meet the budget deficit of the university. The salary bills of around 3,000 employees working on the campus are around Rs 25 crore per month. Officials say salary constitutes 87% of the non-planned budget expenditure of the university.
The issue had started after Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had alleged ‘misappropriation’ of funds on the campus and had written to the MHRD regarding the same, resulting in the delay.