Guest lecturers put on hold strike plan after getting assurance on dues

Guest lecturers in the 10 new government arts and science colleges that were earlier constituent units of Bharathidasan University have put on hold their earlier plan to go on indefinite strike following assurance by the Higher Education Department that their pending salaries will be settled at the earliest.

Bharathidasan University has been directed by the government to settle the salary dues of the guest lecturers with an assurance that the amount will be reimbursed in future.

There is a now sense of certainty among the guest lecturers that they would be paid their salaries following a series of protests they had undertaken under the guidance of Association of University Teachers. Their latest protests of writing letters to the Chief Minister and staging protests in the campuses along with their family members had apparently made the government to realise the gravity of the situation.

While a solution to the stalemate over non-payment of salaries for the guest lecturers since the start of this academic year is in sight, the Finance Department of Bharathidasan University has been bogged down by a technicality in a cash-strapped situation wherein the salaries for the university staff could be paid for October only if the government releases the block grant.

There has been no official order issued in writing so far by the Higher Education Department, and the disbursal of the pending salaries amounting to ₹ 2.4 crore drawn from corpus fund or special grants could cause legal problems to the university, the teaching and non-teaching staff had reasoned out with the Syndicate that was convened to decide on the issue on Thursday.

Also, this year, the re-engagement orders for the guest lecturers were issued by the Regional Joint Director of Collegiate Education, which implies that the onus of paying salaries for the guest lecturers from the start of this academic year lies with the State government.

Nevertheless, the university, sources said, has no other option but to comply with the directive of the Higher Education Department.

According to reliable sources, the university has, on account of constituent colleges that were started under instructions of the government over more than a decade, spent ₹115 crore under ‘salary head’ alone. When the infrastructure is taken into account, the expenditure would far exceed ₹200 crore. The teaching and non-teaching staff of the university emphasise that the State government has to recompense for this to save the institution from a grave financial crisis.

“The university is, no doubt, walking on thin ice on this issue. But there is no other option left,” a senior professor said.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2021 12:21:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/guest-lecturers-put-on-hold-strike-plan-after-getting-assurance-on-dues/article37127554.ece

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