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22 Sinhgad institutes barred from accepting admissions over non-payment of teachers’ salaries

Sinhgad Technical Education Society staff, currently on strike over salary dues, has also demanded a probe into the trust’s affairs

pune Updated: Feb 08, 2018 15:41 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
Sinhgad,institutes,admissions
Run by the Sinhgad Technical Education Society (STES), the Sinhgad Group of Institutes has 12 campuses within and outside Pune and 70,000 students in educational institutes ranging from medical, engineering and pharmacy to arts, science, commerce and law colleges. The Institutes have a 5,000 strong teaching staff and 3,000 non-teaching staff. (HT PHOTO)

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Wednesday barred 22 colleges run by Sinhgad Technical Education Society (STES) from conducting admissions in the next academic year, as the college management has been unable to pay the salaries for last 15 months.

Having suffered delays in salary payment for nearly 15 months now, the agitating faculty and non-teaching staff at the Sinhgad group of educational institutes has also demanded a probe into the affairs of the trust that runs the institutes. An official from the apex body said that the colleges, managed by STES, were put under ‘no admission’ category after the management failed to meet the February 2 deadline for depositing the dues in the bank accounts of its staff. “The college management requested us to extend the deadline until February 9, citing an ongoing court case, but we can’t let them continue like this,” he said. “The colleges will be allowed to admit students, once they comply with the norms,” he added.

Run by the Sinhgad Technical Education Society (STES), the Sinhgad Group of Institutes has 12 campuses within and outside Pune and 70,000 students in educational institutes ranging from medical, engineering and pharmacy to arts, science, commerce and law colleges. The Institutes have a 5,000 strong teaching staff and 3,000 non-teaching staff.

While the faculty and non-teaching staff have been holding protests, strikes and demonstrations over the last one year regarding the non-payment of salary, the students have been complaining of adverse impact on their studies with some of them demanding a refund of the fees. Having suffered delays in salary payment for nearly 15 months now, the agitating faculty and non-teaching staff at the Sinhgad group of educational institutes has demanded a probe into the affairs of the trust that runs the institutes. The latest round of agitation began outside the Sinhgad Institutes’ corporate office at Erandwane on Tuesday, after the institute failed to meet its commitment of partial payment of salary to the staff by January 24.

Pankaj B Miniyar, professor and head of department, Pharma Chemistry at Sinhgad Institute of Pharmacy, demanded that “the regulatory authorities in the country wake up to this crisis.” He was among the protestors outside the corporate office. On February 1, Sachin Shinde, a former engineering professor from the institute wrote to Maharashtra Charity Commissioner, demanding dissolution of the trust and appointment of a government administrator for restoring the functioning of the institute.

Alleging non-payment of Provident Fund dues of employees, action by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the inexplicable wealth of the trust president MM Navale, he demanded a probe into the affairs of the trust.

On January 25, the AICTE raised the issue of non-payment of salary to Sinhgad Institutes’ teaching and non-teaching staff at 22 different institutions. Following a meeting of the Standing Hearing Committee, the extension of approval for academic year 2018-19 to various courses was agreed upon.

The Trust was asked to submit proof of disbursement of salaries to staff by February 2. In April 2017, the CBI had conducted searches on campus for alleged irregularities regarding a loan from the Central Bank of India. The searches followed a case by CBI against officials of the Central Bank of India, Pune, and the Sinhgad Trust, including Navale for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy and causing a loss of approximately ₹58.04 crore by misappropriating money received as loan from the bank.

First Published: Feb 08, 2018 15:31 IST