Shimla: Mother is a cancer patient, father has heart ailment, and Brijesh (32) the sole earner of a family is in dire state. Things are getting worse as he hasn’t received salary for last nine months.

This is not a story of Brijesh alone, over 200 teaching and non-teaching staff members of Bahra University, Shimla are in a similar situation. Most of the staff is living in rented accommodation and with irregular salary they are not able to pay off their rents. Some have to pay schools fee, medical expenses, but salary issue has impacted their daily routine. And during this Coronavirus pandemic things are getting worse for them. 

Students of the University are also not getting any better treatment. They are paying hefty fee for their education but the staff of the University is on pen down strike from last six months. No classes have been conducted during this period.

In this time when most of the educational institutes have turned to online education, Bahra University has not even started classes for its students, which is impacting the future of students. Demanding Government intervention, Students of the University had written to the Shimla Rural Legislature Vikarmaditya Singh in the month of March.   

Salary crunch has also forced over 120 staff members in the last 20 months to leave the University. It is worth noting that these staff members have also not received their salary, security and other benefits such as gratuity from the University. Aditya Singh Thakur, who had served the University for 5 years, had left the University in July 2019 and till now his salary for the month of July, security and gratuity is pending with the University. Same is the case with other staff members who have had to quit amid ongoing crisis.

Staff has been approaching various sources since 2017 to intervene and help. They have sought intervention from the Education Minister, select MLAs, and had also approached HP Private Institution Regulatory Commission, which was set up to ensure quality education in the private Universities and Colleges, but there has been no respite.

After failing from all quarters, the agitated staff members had registered a complaint on the CM Helpline. Following which, the Regulatory Commission seems to have woken from slumber. It has now ordered the University Management to release pending salary of all staff member. The Chairman of Bahra University has requested for some time and the commission has granted 20 days to execute the same.

Meanwhile, Regulatory Commission has ordered the University Registrar to submit affidavit on the behalf of the University for the release of salaries and has also ordered the Finance Officer to appear before the Commission on 9th June along with breakup of the fee receipt, endowment fund, interest and salary detail of the staff.              

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