HRD ministry seeks Visva Bharati response over salary delay notice

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Published on Feb 25, 2020 11:49 PM IST
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ByAmandeep Shukla

New Delhi: The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has decided to seek an explanation from the Santiniketan-based Visva Bharati University management.over the issuance of a notice, which claimed that the varsity was in a dire financial crisis and February salaries of over 1,100 staff might not be paid on time.

A senior HRD ministry official, who didn’t wish to be named, told Hindustan Times on Tuesday that the concern regarding salaries would not be paid on time was unfounded because vice-chancellor, Bidyut Chakrabarty, was assured by Union HRD secretary, Amit Khare, on Monday evening of being provided “additional funds”.

“The vice-chancellor was told that additional funds would be sent to Visva Bharati before February 28. We are seeking an explanation from the V-C for creating a wrong impression,” said a second official on condition of anonymity.

“It is inexplicable that the head of an important institution would create panic that would shift focus from academic activities. We are writing to the varsity seeking an explanation about the notice,” said the senior official.

Earlier, a notice issued by the varsity had created a flutter claiming that the February salaries of over 1,100 employees, including faculty members, of the Centrally-funded Visva-Bharati University (V-B) could be delayed due to paucity of funds.

The notice comes a few days after V-C Chakraborty said that the university, founded by Rabindranath Tagore, was grappling with fund crunch.

“This is for information of all concerned that the salary for the month of February, 2020, is likely to be delayed due to paucity of funds,” read the notice issued by the university’s acting registrar Asha, who goes by only her first name, on Monday.

“We do have a scarcity of funds. Our annual budget for salary, pension, other allowances and arrears was Rs 230 crore, of which Rs 160 crore was approved and so far we have received only that much. This amount makes for 10 months’ expenses under these heads. We will be able to pay salaries for February and March, including the arrears, only after receiving the remaining Rs 70 crore,” said Sanjoy Ghosh, joint registrar (accounts), Visva-Bharati.

The university, located at Santiniketan and about 160 kilometres north-west of Kolkata, functions under the HRD ministry. The President is the university’s ‘visitor’.

Visva-Bharati has about 400 faculty members and 600 non-teaching staff. Besides, primary and secondary school, Patha Bhavana, has 150 teachers on its rolls.

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