Terms extension of their contracts ‘bizarre’
Srinagar: Contractual lecturers who worked for the University of Kashmir’s South Campus through 2017-18 have been deprived of two months’ salary by the campus administration, which has additionally termed the University administration’s extension of their contracts “bizarre”.
The University administration had on 18 December 2017 issued a circular to all departments and campuses that accorded the grant of extension and release of salary for the months of January and February 2018 (the winter months) in favour of contractual lecturers and teaching assistants working in various departments, centres, institutes and campuses of the university.
While various departments readily implemented the order, the Director, South Campus, Ashfaq Zarri, has till date failed to implement the order and release the salaries of the contractual lecturers.
While terming the order bizarre, Zarri said the decision was taken in haste without taking him into consideration.
“I cannot give salaries to people who did not work for the campus. University administration did not consult me before issuing the order,” he said.
Terming the contractual lecturers “beneficiaries”, Zarri claimed that it is not only his campus that has not released the salaries. “There are many departments. For example, the English department in main campus,” he said.
A group of contractual lectures of South Campus told Kashmir Reader that they repeatedly met the director at his office and once in the main campus as well to apprise him of the issue. The director told the candidates that he was not in a position to release their salaries due to varied reasons, one of them being budgetary constraints.
The candidates had also met the University of Kashmir Registrar in February and submitted an application to him about the issue.
The candidates said that the Registrar assured them that salaries would be disbursed. However he has not acted upon the application since then, they claim.
Dean, Academic Affairs (DAA), rebuked Zarri’s statement, terming it irresponsible to claim that the decision was taken in haste and is therefore absurd.
Speaking to Kashmir Reader, the DAA, Professor Musaddiq Ahmad Sahaf, said that the statement is uncalled for as the heads of the campuses and departments have no role to play in the apex decisions of the University.
He said that the decision to extend the contracts of the contractual lecturers was taken at a meeting by the apex body of the University in which all concerned administrative heads and deans were present.
“The decision was taken after a well thought-out process and was concurrently approved by the Vice Chancellor,” he said. The candidates said that they met the Director three times. During their first meeting, the director informed them that he cannot implement the order as his campus was running out of budget.
“In second meeting, the director told us that he will be able to implement the order once the University administration releases some funds,” the candidates said. He also informed them that he has written to the Registrar about the issue.
However, in the third meeting, the director informed the candidates that the Registrar had written back to him saying that it was at his (the Director’s) discretion to release the salary. “The Registrar has reverted back to my letter and has informed me that it was my discretion whether I should release the salary or not. Since I do not have funds, therefore I will not pay you for the two months,” the Director told the candidates.
The Registrar, University of Kashmir, said that he cannot comment on the issue and that the DAA was the right person to speak to.