Even as there is talk of giving a boost to higher education in the country, the 62-year-old Karnatak University in Dharwad, for the first time is facing severe financial crunch. This has resulted in the varsity facing a threat of an indefinite “University Bundh” from employees who have not received their salaries.
The non-teaching employees association and retired employees association have alleged that the university had failed to pay their salaries and arrears in full to the non-teaching staff and contract workers. They have hencee called for the University Bundh from Wednesday if the authorities failed to pay their dues by Tuesday.
A lack of coordination between the department of higher education and the university is said to be the cause of funds crunch. President of Karnatak University Retired Employees Association Toteshwar Gudagur alleged that the varsity owes crores of rupees to employees. The retired employees, who used to get their salaries on the last day of every month have not received their salaries for the month of July till date. Similarly, except those drawing UGC pay scale, other serving employees have also not been paid their salaries.
Gudagur said the University has not paid the salary as per the new pay scales announced by the state government in March this year. Nearly 600 employees working on contract basis and 100 permanent employees are yet to receive the arrears, he said. The charges against the varsity are that the authorities after deducting the LIC premium, cooperative society loans and provident fund from the employees’ salary have not made the remittance to the accounts concerned for several months. Gudagur alleges that the varsity authorities have diverted the funds for other purposes, causing a shortage of funds for payment of salaries.
KU Registrar S B Hinchigeri told Business Standard, on Monday that the varsity was facing financial crunch and attributed the problem to the non-release of the funds required, by the state government. The University needs Rs 9.5 crore every month to pay salaries to all the existing employees and retired employees. The state government releases Rs 12 crore for a block period of three months and allows only one-third of it to be drawn every month. The treasury has been instructed not to permit the withdrawal of more than 1/3rd of the released amount every month. There is a shortage of Rs 72 crore every year, Hinchigeri said.
The varsity has sent several proposals to the state government regarding the revised financial requirements, but there has been no response from the government.
Meanwhile, vice-chancellor H B Walikar met chief minister Jagadish Shettar at Hubli on Monday and explained the situation and appealed for the release of additional funds. Registrar Hinchigeri has met higher education minister C T Ravi and apprised him of the situation. The varsity has not made efforts to convince the government on the need to release more funds. It has diverted the funds to other purposes and has created a mess. The employees are forced to resort to agitation said Toteshwar Gudagur, President of KU Retired Non-Teaching Employees Association.
Registrar S B Hinchigeri explained that with the increase in dearness allowance and implementation of new pay scale and also with the recruitment of new employees under the backlog, the varsity needs more money.
Being the oldest university, it has large number of retired employees and as such the quantum of money needed for payment of salaries and pension is high.
However the state government is not releasing required additional amount. In order to ensure that the employees are not deprived of their salaries we were making adjustments. Now we have reached a stage where no adjustment is possible. We cannot re-appropriate funds. We are making all efforts to convince the government and get more funds and are hoping that the problem will be sorted out.