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BAU staff lock VC office over pay

Academic activities came to a grinding halt at Birsa Agriculture University (BAU), Ranchi, on Friday as the teaching and no-teaching staff carried out their threat and locked up the office of vice chancellor M.P. Pandey as a symbolic protest after the administration failed to clear their salaries.

Later, nearly 2,000 employees of the three colleges — Ranchi Agriculture College, Ranchi Veterinary College and College of Forestry — comprising the state’s only agricultural university, along with casual workers, marched to Raj Bhavan and handed over the keys of the VC’s room to the governor’s officer on special duty. They also submitted a memorandum, which said how their families were forced to go hungry as the government had not paid them since April this year.

However, Pandey’s office was later reopened after the district administration intervened. No classes were held at the university though while all administrative offices remained deserted.

“We put the vice chancellor’s office under lock and key in keeping with our agitation programme that was announced earlier. It was a symbolic protest against non-payment of our salaries,” said Krishna Prasad, president of the coordination committee of teaching and non-teaching staff, BAU.

Sources revealed that the state finance department had ordered release of Rs 8.50 crore to clear the salaries and allowances of BAU employees.

A copy of the order had already been sent to the accountant-general so that necessary instructions can be sent to the state treasury for release of the money. But the sources pointed out that a lot of formalities required to be completed before the money actually reached the BAU staff.

“The procedure involves preparation of a salary bill by the state agriculture department, which will be forwarded to the treasury. The treasury will then prepare a draft for the amount. Once the draft is prepared, it will be sent to BAU, which, in turn, will deposit it in its bank at Kanke,” said an insider.

The bank will then send the draft for payment through clearing house operations. The university will also have to send a statement to its banker, stating the amount to be paid to each employee. The process will be over only after the bank credits money into the accounts of the employees.

“The entire process will take more than a week,” the source added.

Prasad, however, made it clear that they would not rest till they got their salaries.

“We are not interested about the procedures involved in clearing the money. Nor are we happy to learn that the state government has released just Rs 8.50 crore,” he said.

In such circumstances, the BAU Academic Council’s meeting, scheduled for Saturday, is likely to be cancelled.

“We will also do away with the pomp and grandeur while marking the Foundation Day on November 15 this year. We will only pay homage to Birsa Munda,” Prasad said.

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