Enough funds, but colleges not paying teachers, says Manish Sisodia
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that at least four of the 12 Delhi government-funded colleges affiliated to Delhi University have enough money in their accounts despite claiming otherwise, indicating a misappropriation of funds, a charge denied by the colleges.
Sisodia’s remark comes on a day when teachers of Delhi government-funded DU colleges began a three-day strike against the alleged delay in disbursal of government grants to these colleges, which they said is the main cause behind pending salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff for months.
Addressing a press conference held on Wednesday, Sisodia, however, said enough funds have been provided. “The Delhi government provided enough funds to these colleges for paying salaries but in their initial observation report, auditors have found that the funds are being directed elsewhere rather than paying the salaries to teachers. Projected salaries for this academic year is R 300 crore and Delhi government has provided sufficient funds to the colleges under the pattern of assistance,” Sisodia said.
The education minister said several staff members and teachers complained of misuse of funds, which necessitated an audit in six of these colleges. The auditors submitted an initial observation report for at least four colleges on Tuesday, Sisodia said.
“It was observed in the reports that colleges kept huge amounts as fixed deposits rather than paying salaries to staff,” Sisodia said. “University and college administration are doing politics and not paying salaries despite having crores in their accounts. Initially, colleges cooperated with the auditors and provided the necessary documents. However, colleges stopped cooperating with auditors on being questioned on the funds.”
Sisodia said while Keshav Mahavidyalaya has Rs 10.52 crore, the closing balance of Bhagini Nivedita College shows that they have around Rs 2.5 crore as fixed deposits in their accounts at present. Despite repeated calls and messages, the principals of these colleges did not comment.
“Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies didn’t even provide their audited balance sheets to the auditors. However, it was found that they had around Rs 3.5 crore in their balance sheet in the year 2018-19 and Rs 10.45 crore in fixed deposits,” Sisodia said.
Principal Poonam Verma said the allegations were false and the matter was being politicised due to the governing body elections. The DU administration and the Delhi government have been at loggerheads over the formation of governing bodies in Delhi government-funded colleges for more than a year now.
“The Delhi government has been targeting us because we don’t have their nominated person as the governing body chairperson. We have had a CAG audit in the financial year 2018-19 and because of the pandemic, last year’s audit got delayed. There is no need for a special audit. We are giving them all information. The surplus amount they are talking about is students’ funds and we can’t use it for salaries,” she said
The Delhi government said Deen Dayal Upadhyay College did not provide audited balance sheets of various funds and books and donated “Rs 25 lakh for the ‘Atal Incubation centre’ from the student society fund account.”
Hem Chand Jain, officiating principal, denied the allegations. “We provided all documents to the special audit team and have nothing to hide. Money collected from students for specific purposes or extracurricular activities cannot be used for other purposes other than student activities. Colleges can use student funds for emergency purposes but this cannot be done on a permanent basis. We will provide detailed clarification on the matter soon.” He said most other colleges funded by the University Grants Commission have such funds in their accounts but these cannot be used for salaries.
Reacting to the allegations of financial irregularities, DU Dean of Colleges Balaram Pani said, “We can’t comment before seeing the final audit report. If there are any irregularities, we will take action accordingly.”
AK Bhagi, a former executive council member, said, “The students fund by no means can be used for paying salaries to employees. It is the duty of the government to pay salaries, other allowances and medical bills, etc., to employees and give grants for new and maintenance of infrastructure. Students’ fund is meant for students’ activities only.”
Former academic council member Pankaj Garg said the deputy CM comments were misleading. “Monthly expenditure statements are submitted by every college and only then, grants are released. We are not against any kind of audit but in no case teachers should suffer for no fault of their own,” he said.
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