K P Singh (48) has been teaching in an MCD school for the last 22 years. Since 2012, when the unified municipal corporation was trifurcated, salary woes have been intermittent. But the last three months, Singh said, have been particularly difficult.
Tired of not getting paid, as many as 1,500 teachers from the North and East corporations Monday took to the streets and marched from the Civic Centre — the municipal corporation headquarters — to the Delhi Secretariat, demanding disbursal of salaries. This is the third such protest by teachers this year.
“I am the sole earning member in the family. My daughter goes to college and I am having trouble making ends meet. It is surprising that the corporation has money to pay other staffers but for teachers, no salary is earmarked. I dread each day as my cheques are bouncing and banks are rejecting loan applications,” said Singh, who teaches at a corporation school in Sunder Nagri.
While Singh has his own home, other teachers said they are also falling behind on rent. Once February ends, the number of months they wouldn’t have been paid would touch four. While the 13,000-odd teachers (including 10,000 permanent ones) from the North and East civic bodies have been fighting for salaries and payment of arrears on an almost regular basis for the past five years, about 5,500 permanent teachers from the South corporation have been getting paid regularly.
In 2016, teachers had called a strike to protest against the “apathy” of the corporations. With their appeals going unheard yet again, teachers said another large stir is on the cards. “When we go to the corporation, they say they have no money to pay us. Today (Monday), when we went to meet Education Minister Manish Sisodia, he did not meet us. A government official said services of teachers were not in their jurisdiction and that they have already disbursed money to the corporation. Who do we go to then?” alleged Ajay Gupta, a teacher at a North civic body school, who has worked for more than 30 years.
In 2017, the Delhi government had allocated a budget of Rs 7,571 crore to the civic bodies — an increase of Rs 982 crore from 2016. Teachers also alleged that non-disbursal of salaries resulted in some of their colleagues falling ill. In January, teachers had linked the death of a teacher, Hemchand, who died of a heart attack, to non-payment of salaries.
Pinki Kala, a teacher at a school in Shahdara, said, “My husband has a private job, so we are able to run our family. Now, the new academic session is set to begin, I don’t know how we will manage.” A senior north body official said, “A loan has been sought from the government. As soon as it is released, pending salaries will be disbursed.”