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DUTA Strike: Maharaja Agrasen College Teachers and Staff go on Strike demanding release of Funds

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In accordance with the strike call by DUTA (Delhi University Teachers’ Association), the teaching, as well as the non-teaching staff of Maharaja Agrasen College (MAC), have announced to go on a three-day strike.

The teachers and staff of Maharaja Agrasen College have gone a three-day protest till 18th September. The protest includes the cancellation of all the classes between the aforementioned dates.

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What is the Strike about?

Dr Subodh Kumar, a Professor of Political Science and the President MAC Teaching Staff Association, told DU Express, “Adequate funds for the 12 colleges funded by the Delhi government have not been released. For the last five months, the government has not even released a single penny for the colleges.”

He further added, “Besides not getting adequate finds this year, the funds that we were supposed to receive in last quarter of 2019-20 have still not been released. How can the government expect us to teach our students without any salary, we also have to pay our own expenses? We have nearly exhausted our college’s and personal savings and the government just keeps on delaying the release of the funds, it is just insensitive on their part.”

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This is not the first time that the teachers had to go on a strike. During the previous five months, the teachers have tried all types of methods, be it writing to the government to fasting for a day but the Delhi Government just isn’t listening.

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Why isn’t the Government releasing the funds?

The Delhi Government has reasons for the holding back of funds. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia-led Education Department, at first stated that the government is short of funds and then levelled corruption charges against the 12 colleges. However, to date, no formal complaint on the charges of corruption has been lodged by the government. In addition, three routine audits, including the one done by CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General), have not found any inconsistency in the accounts.

A professor of this college, who does not wish to be named, says, “It is a well-known fact that the central government sets up the structure of the salaries being given to us. Each and every penny is given to the teachers is accounted for. I fail to understand as to how can one use corrupt means to earn one’s own salary. It is rather just a populist move by a populist government. This is the first time that I am seeing such an approach by the government in my career.”

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“Corruption is not the bone of contention”, say the sources who are familiar with the development. They say that the Delhi Government wants greater representation in the college governing bodies, which will not only sideline the teaching staff but also give the government a greater say in College affairs.

Besides this, the AAP Government is also recommending names of officials with a tainted image for such governing bodies. And in order to force the University to approve these names, the government authorities are using funds as a bargaining chip.

Students are Loosing out too

Another Professor, who does not wish to be named, says, “I can’t leave my students’ future in uncertainty while I also cannot play with the lives of my family. I want to teach my students but without salary for over five months, I am not even able to make the ends meet. My savings are near extinction and the government isn’t even being considerate. The government is adamant on their demand for an investigation but why should the teachers and the students need to suffer, both of us don’t have any role in this.”

If the staff doesn’t get their due salaries, not only will the teachers and non-teaching staff but also, we, the students will suffer. DUTA is standing by its own demands and the Delhi Government isn’t ready to budge, the result of which is a total loss of the varsity which is already suffering from a teacher shortage.

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