New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) Thousands of Delhi University (DU) teachers went on a strike on Thursday to protest non-payment of salaries for the past six months.
The call for a university 'shutdown' was given by the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) on Tuesday as many employees of 12 DU colleges, that are fully funded by the Delhi government, alleged they had not received salaries and other dues for over six months.
'We don't want our students to suffer, that is why we didn't take this drastic step for the longest time. But then we were not left with an option as many employees -- teaching and non-teaching -- have not been getting their salaries and pensions for the last six months now.
'We just want the authority concerned to release our funds and pay our salaries. For other issues, we can always sit and talk,' DUTA president Rajib Ray told PTI.
In a statement issued late evening, the Delhi government said it has cleared the third installment of dues to the colleges but the institutions have not paid salaries to the teachers and others for the last several months.
It seems that the colleges are attempting to hide financial irregularities by not submitting utilisation certificates, the government alleged.
'The Delhi government shall conduct an investigation into the same,' the statement added.
The strike by the DU teachers which began on Maha Shivratri -- a restricted holiday in the Delhi University -- would intensify in the coming days, with teachers taking to the streets on March 15, the DUTA said.
The DUTA will also hold meetings with Delhi University and College Karamchari Union (DUCKU) and DU Students' Union (DUSU) by March 13, Ray said.
'The DUTA will hold a 'Adhikar rally' from the VC office to the CM residence on March 15 and another march from the VC office to the LG's office on March 18,' read a statement issued by DUTA.
The other important issue, as per the DUTA statement, is the merging of the College of Art with the Ambedkar University, Delhi after it was de-affiliated from the DU. DUTA claimed the decision was taken 'without consulting stakeholders and without due processes.
It also asked other staff associations to hold meetings to 'mobilize for the action programmes and send feedback' by March 19.
The DUTA executive will decide the future course of action on March 20, it added.
On its part, the Delhi government said that despite repeated reminders, 12 colleges have not submitted the utilisation certificates of the previous installments.
'The non-submission of utilisation certificates of previous installments by the colleges has delayed the release of final installment by the Delhi government. The situation implies to the bad financial management of the college authorities,' the government said in the statement.
Later in the day, governing body members of the Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) college -- which is one of the fully-funded colleges by the Delhi government -- addressed a press conference alleging 'financial mismanagement' of funds by the college administration.
'The college (DDU) principal is claiming that money has not been given by the Delhi government for payment of salaries. However, when we, the members of the governing body, looked more deeply into the matter, it is very clear that the Delhi government has regularly been paying all its dues to the college.
'So it seems there are some grave financial irregularities being done by the college that despite all the dues being paid by the Delhi government, the college is not paying salary to teachers and other staff,' read the statement issued by the DDU's governing body, which also demanded immediate release of the salaries of the college's staff. PTI MG BUN IJT