New Delhi: Around a week after the Delhi High Court ordered the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) to ensure that a month’s salary is released on or before 10 September to the teachers working in schools run by it, the corporation received the salary budget for June from the Delhi government Wednesday.
“Today, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation was given the June budget for teachers’ salary. The payment will be done Thursday,” Ram Niwas Solanki, general secretary, Municipal Corporation Teachers Association, told ThePrint late Wednesday night.
A senior finance department official at the NDMC confirmed that the June salary will be paid to the teachers Thursday.
The NDMC teachers had been waiting for their salary for three months now. While the payment for June has now been cleared after HC intervention, they will now have to wait for July and August salary.
Earlier this year, their April pay was released only after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) issued an order to the effect. The May salary was paid later.
Meanwhile, the problem of non-payment of salary is not limited to NDMC teachers alone. Those working in Delhi University colleges have also not been paid their salary for a few months now.
According to an employees’ association of Delhi University, workers in 12 fully-funded DU colleges have been awaiting salaries since May.
Similarly, pensioners and health workers at hospitals attached to the NDMC have also been awaiting their remuneration for two to three months. The issue is affecting not only employees working on contractual basis but also the permanent staff.
While the NDMC is ruled by the BJP, the DU colleges come under the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government.
However, both the authorities are currently engaged in a blame game. While the Delhi government has blamed corruption in colleges for the teachers’ woes, the NDMC claims the government hasn’t released its funds and so it cannot pay.
‘At least 3,000’ DU college staff not paid
Rajiv Ray, president of Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA), told ThePrint, “If we combine the strength of teaching and non-teaching staff, at least 3,000 people are being affected by the problem of non-payment of salaries in these (12) colleges.”
The institutions facing the issue include Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar College, Deen Dayal Upadhyay College, Indira Gandhi Institute of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Bhaskar College of Applied Sciences and Maharaja Agrasen College, among others.
These are among the 12 colleges under DU, out of a total of 28, which are fully funded by the Delhi government. The other 16 are partially funded.
Ray’s comments come a month after Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia, while addressing a press conference on the salary issue, accused these colleges of indulging in corruption and politics on the issue.
According to Sisodia, the inability of these fully-funded colleges to pay salaries despite a 70 per cent budget raise in five years indicates corruption. He alleged that due to rampant corruption, these colleges are refusing to form governing bodies and people associated with the government are not being included in them. The university had denied the charges at the time.
In response to these charges, the DUTA president said, “There might be corruption in some sections but how can that be a reason for halting the salary of everyone?”
ThePrint reached Sisodia and Delhi Education Secretary H. Rajesh Prasad though several WhatsApp texts and phone calls for a comment but there was no response till the time of publishing. This report will be updated if a response is received.
NDMC schools, hospitals not paying salary
The issue pertaining to non-payment of salary has been lingering since April in schools and other institutions run by the BJP-ruled NDMC.
“On 1 September, the Delhi High Court ordered to release one month’s salary by 10 September. Tell us if teachers should focus on their school work or continue to make rounds of court/CAT for release of their salaries?” Ram Niwas Solanki of the Municipal Corporation Teachers Association said.
He said they might have to go to court again to get salaries for the months of July and August released.
He said several pensioners are also not being paid. “Not only the working school teachers’ salaries are on hold, but thousands of pensioners have also not received their pensions.”
The situation is not different in hospitals functioning under the NDMC.
At Hindu Rao hospital, where doctors had threatened mass resignations over the issue in June, the staff have not received their salaries for the last two months.
“The salary for June month was credited towards the end of the month. We are hoping the salary of July and August will be credited, albeit late, in September. If that does not happen, we will again complain in writing,” said Sagardeep Bawa, vice-president of Hindu Rao Hospital’s Resident Doctors’ Association, adding that this is affecting about 300-400 workers under the NDMC.
Bawa claimed the situation is similar at other NDMC hospitals, such as Kasturba Hospital, Rajan Babu TB Hospital and Girdhari Lal hospital, with sources at these hospitals confirming this.
‘Unable to pay because of Delhi government’
Asked about all the complaints, NDMC Mayor Avtar Singh said the corporation is unable to pay salary because the Delhi government hasn’t released funds. He added that the corporation even protested against this.
“We carried out a demonstration against the Delhi government (on Monday) under the leadership of Delhi state BJP president Adesh Gupta and demanded that the Delhi government release our funds. They have withheld our funds for a long time, due to which we are not being able to pay salaries,” said Singh.
Singh, however, didn’t give details about the amount of funds withheld.
Lawyer Ajay Luthra, who represented the teachers in CAT, had earlier told ThePrint, “In the case of salary payment, 60 per cent of it comes from the municipalities’ kitty and the rest 40 per cent is paid by the Delhi government.”
According to the NDMC’s senior finance department official quoted above, the revenue collected by the civic body remains with it for non-plan expenditure, while the Delhi government gives grant-in-aid to it and that amount is used for both plan and non-plan expenditure.
“The non-plan grant-in-aid expenditure is completely utilised for payment of salary. Our internal income is also non-plan, which caters to mainly salary (90%) and miscellaneous obligatory expenses (10%),” the official explained.
He said the salary matter has been taken up “at the highest level in central govt” on the directions of the Delhi High Court. “The Delhi government has shown its inability (to send grant) due to dip in its revenue. Our revenue has also dipped drastically. As a result, we have been unable to release the salary and pension.”
ThePrint reached Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain via calls and WhatsApp texts for a comment but there was no response till the time of publishing this report.
In response to the Delhi BJP’s demonstration, AAP’s MCD in-charge Durgesh Pathak said, “The BJP should either pay the employees or vacate the chair within a week.”
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