The Amogha Institute for Professional and Technical Education on Meerut Road describes its fee structure as “very low”, but for the father of one of its students, this proved beyond reach. Not paid his salary for April and with his daughter’s fees to be paid to the institute, 45-year-old Hridesh Kumar Sharma committed suicide. He was a MCD school attendant in east Delhi.
In the early hours of Tuesday, Sharma hanged himself from a ceiling fan in his house. His mother, wife and two children were asleep in the adjoining room. Salary delays in MCDs are routine, but this was one delay Sharma could not handle.
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Incidentally, he reached his breaking point barely days before the Delhi government released the first instalment of its yearly grant-in-aid to the MCDs. According to officials, Sharma would have received his dues in “two or three days”. His grief-stricken family has no strength to deal with such irony.
Sharma, the only earning member of the family, had a monthly salary of Rs 26,775. His daughter’s annual fee is Rs 65,000. Their monthly house rent, Rs 5,500, has not been paid for three months and the groceries have come on credit.
In the second year of BSc Nursing programme, his daughter, Priya, stopped going to college about a month ago because the family was trying to save money. The axe fell on money Priya spent on commuting from their house in GTB Enclave to her college in Ghaziabad. Also, her fees for the next session had to be paid in the next two weeks or she would not be allowed to take examinations. “My exams are starting on June 8. I am studying, but now that my father is gone, I don’t think I will be allowed to appear,” Priya said Thursday. Her brother, Ashu, is waiting for his Class X exam results.
On Monday, Sharma took a two-hour stroll after dinner, played with his son and daughter and went to sleep around midnight. The family has one desert cooler and all five members slept in the same room.
Sharma’s wife, Savita, lamented she did not know the extent of his worries over their financial difficulties. “He woke up around 2.30 am and went to the adjoining room. I did not check on him because I did not know there was anything to worry about.” Savita found him hanging at 6 am Tuesday. “I could not move.” Savita said her husband had asked her to wake him up early so that he could go to a bank for a loan to pay Priya’s fees. “We have nothing. I don’t know who to turn to.”
Now, neighbours are pouring in to console the family. Amid talk of of how ‘government employee’ Sharma should have waited for salary, Priya snapped, “When salary comes after months, there are people to be paid back and my father was trying very hard.”