KATHMANDU, July 13: Even after Finance Minister Barshaman Pun pledged an additional budget to Tribhuvan University (TU), all 60 constituent colleges of the university across the county remained closed for the second consecutive day on Friday across the country.
The Tribhuvan University Teachers Association (TUTA) had announced a two-day strike from Thursday, demanding that they be paid hiked salaries. The TU has accused the University Grants Commission (UGC) of not providing necessary budget for paying hiked salaries.
“Our two-day pen down that ended Friday was just a symbolic protest,” said TUTA President Yogendra Narayan Barbariya. “We will launch stringent protests if we do not get our raised salaries. We cannot compromise on our basic salaries.”
Last year, while reading out his budget speech, then Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari had hiked salaries of all government employees, including those of TU employees.
With the hike in its employees´ salaries, TU needed an additional Rs 830 million. However, as of now, UGC has provided only Rs 120 million through it had been providing over Rs 3.5 billion every year to TU.
UGC has released an additional Rs 140 million -- Rs 60 million on Thursday and Rs 80 million on Friday. However, the budget is still short of Rs 570 million.
According to Bhola Nath Pokharel, Member Secretary of UGC, the Ministry of Education (MoE) has discovered an additional Rs 380 million allocated to different ministries but remains unspent.
“We will provide money to TU as soon as we get it from the government early next week,” said Pokharel.
Apart from TU, Mahendra Sanskrit University has also demanded Rs 90 million for paying hiked salaries to its employees. However, according to Pokharel, UGC will provide a total of only Rs 810 million -- Rs 760 million for TU and Rs 50 million for the Sanskrit university.
“As per our calculations, Rs 810 million is enough for TU and the Sanskrit university to distribute raised salaries,” said Pokharel. “If they have hired employees on their own, they have to use their own resources.”
TU has 15,094 employees while the Sanskrit university has 985 employees.