The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) had announced a 3-day strike against the state government on Wednesday the 16th. The issue with which they kicked-off the strike was the alleged non-payment of salaries to employees of 12 varsity colleges. The city government fully-funds these colleges. Their employees have been unpaid for five months. This is a violation of the right to livelihood under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Amidst the current pandemic, things have not been much easier for teachers, with the mundane online classes. They sit in front of screens, teaching blank walls and battling technological mishaps every day. All they expect in return is payment as respect for their services.
Sujit Kumar, an Associate Professor at Dr BR Ambedkar College University of Delhi remarks how difficult it is for teachers to sustain themselves, especially the ad-hoc, guest faculty and contractual employees. “Juggling between EMIs and regular expenses,” he adds “I am also managing by sharing just one laptop with my son who is also preparing for OBE.”
Dr Mahaveer Genwa also wrote a letter. He addressed it to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and VP Venkaiah Naidu. He sought an appointment to resolve the issue of inordinate delay in disbursal of salaries of the concerned colleges. Later Genwa, the President of Deen Dyal Upadhyay’s Staff Association also added the following. “With no money, there is hardly anything to manage. What do we do! There is no salary, no payments to be done. The landlord keeps knocking for rent while I conduct online class, and the school sends notices for payment of tuition fee while also ensuring internet charge for online classes.”
READ MORE ABOUT SISODIA’S CLAIMS HERE.
This attempt to get an appointment was cancelled at the last minute. Nevertheless, Sisodia did voice his opinion on this issue. “The colleges have enough funds in their FD and other existing accounts yet the administration is not paying salaries to its staff. The Delhi government has provided sufficient funds to the colleges for their projected salary needs under the pattern of assistance“, he said. However, the Association did not take this statement well. DUTA President Rajib Ray also called Sisodia’s suggestion objectionable. “This is nothing but an attempt to withdraw government expenditure from public-funded institutions and pave the way for privatisation with the consequent exponential increase in student fees,” he added.
The members of the Association believe that the teachers deserve no part of this crossfire. The 12 colleges affiliated with DU and fully funded by the Delhi government are: Acharya Narendra Dev College, Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Bhaskaracharya College of Applied Sciences, Bhagini Nivedita College, DeenDayal Upadhyaya College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya Women’s College, Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education & Sports Sciences, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Maharaja Agrasen College (DU), Maharshi Valmiki College of Education, Shaheed Rajguru College of Applied Sciences for Women and Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies. Teachers play a significant role in stimulating the intellectual growth of society. Thus, we urge the government to make their voices a priority and provide them with their dues.
READ MORE ABOUT THE STRIKE HERE.