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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Pay delayed, North MCD teachers struggle to meet needs: ‘Borrowing money to stay afloat’

In June, the Delhi High Court had come down heavily on the North MCD for non-payment of salaries.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | Updated: July 29, 2020 7:05:21 pm
Pay delayed, North MCD teachers struggle to meet needs: ‘Borrowing money to stay afloat’ HC had pulled up North MCD over the issue. (Archive)

Children’s school fees unpaid, EMIs on hold, borrowing money from relatives — irregular and delayed salaries throughout the coronavirus outbreak has meant that North MCD school teachers have been struggling to make ends meet.

Till the beginning of July, 3,600 teachers had not been paid since February. They were paid their March salary in early July — four months late. As many as 5,400 teachers who had been on Covid duty were paid their March salaries in June, and received their April salaries earlier this month.

In June, the Delhi High Court had come down heavily on the North MCD for non-payment of salaries. In court, this issue took the form of the corporation and Delhi government locked in a dispute over the release of funds.

Rakesh Bansal (50) has taught at MCD schools for the last 20 years. The lone earner for his family, he had not been put on Covid duty because polio at a young age has made him dependent on crutches for mobility. Last paid his salary for the month of March, which he received on July 4, he finds himself unable to meet the needs of his two daughters — aged six and two.

“My younger daughter has had three vaccines, including DTP, pending for the last four months. The frustration in my family has just been building. I’ve been getting by through money borrowed from relatives, and because I’ve reached a point of just trying to get food on the table, I can’t afford the vaccines along with all this. I also have not been able to pay fees for my older daughter’s school for the last four months and I have EMIs for a property loan on hold as well,” he said.

Satya Prakash Chabdi (54), who has taught at MCD schools for 24 years, said: “It’s very embarrassing for me to have to borrow money at this stage of my life but I have no choice. I had even gone to the bank to get a personal loan but the reputation of the North MCD has become such that they are not willing to give us loans. As of now, I have rent to pay as well as college fees for two daughters.”

Ramnivas Solanki, head of the MCD teachers’ association, said “there needs to be a permanent solution to this payment problem”.

“There should be a separate salary head for North MCD teachers so that funds cannot be used in any other way. Or maybe the three corporations should be integrated or primary education should be handed over to the Delhi government. Some action needs to be taken for a permanent solution,” he said.

On the salaray delay, North MCD deputy commissioner Ira Singhal said: “There is a general shortage of funds. We are trying to augment our resources; nobody is sitting on anybody’s salary or using those funds for other purposes. When the funds are released by the Delhi government, salaries will be paid.”

The Delhi government had earlier claimed in High Court that they have released the sanctioned sum of over Rs 49 crore each for April, May and June towards grant-in-aid for disbursing salaries to the teachers of the corporation, under the scheme of primary education for the year 2020-21. North MCD had, however, disputed the claim.

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