Patna: Around 40,000 serving and retired college and university teachers and employees haven’t been paid in the past five months, and the issue rose in the Bihar Legislative Council on Wednesday. Members cutting across party lines took up the cause and called for government intervention to resolve it.
Congress MLC Dilip Kumar Chaudhary raised the issue via an adjournment motion, as the session started for the day. “Salaries and pensions have not been paid to college and university teachers, as well as, employees for the last five months. They are in dire straits,” Dilip said. “Holi is here and they are facing difficulties making both ends meet.”
Requesting for suspension of routine Council work to discuss the matter, Chaudhary pointed out that the state government pays salary and pension for a month or two (in bits and pieces) after a gap of several months. Dilip’s motion was supported by CPI leader and MLA Kedar Nath Pandey and BJP MLC Nawal Kishore Yadav.
Pandey said “The condition of pensioners is worse. The anomaly happens because the education department clubs salaries and pensions together,” Kedar said. He requested deputy chairman of the legislative Council, Harun Rashid, to “intervene and take up the matter with the education minister”.
Though Harun, who was presiding over the session, rejected the adjournment motion, solidarity between different parties highlighted the enormity of the issue.
“The government has made a mess of higher education here,” Federation of University Teachers’ Associations of Bihar (FUTAB) working president Kanhaiya Bahadur Sinha told a newspaper. “The cabinet sanctioned Rs 779 crore in January 23 and around Rs 500 crore on February 5 for payment of salary and pension, but the money is yet to be released. It seems the government has not got the money and the education department is unconcerned about our trouble.”
Normally, Patna University manages to pay salary and pension from its internal resources. But this time it is cash-strapped and teachers have not got salaries for January yet.
“Money for salary and pension was provisioned in the budget, but was spent on payment of arrears to the non-teaching staff after they won a case in the high court,” Patna University Teachers Association (PUTA) member Anil Kumar said. “Now there is no money and salaries and pensions have been delayed.”