Govt de-freezes varsities’ bank accounts; salary & pension on way

Patna high court had directed ACS, education, to release approved budget of all the universities for the financial year, 2023-24 within 10 days, failing which salary of top brass will be stopped

Government University stand off

Patna: The education department, Bihar, on Wednesday withdrew the letters that had suspended operation of bank accounts of various universities following the meeting of education minister Sunil Kumar, department’s additional chief secretary S Siddharth with vice-chancellors of all universities.

The meeting was convened by governor-cum-chancellor of universities Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar to break the months-long stand-off between the department and the universities. Salary and pension of serving and retired university officials and staff were held up for more than three-four months.

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Bank accounts of the varsities were not de-frozen even a month after the Patna high court had reprimanded the department for its ‘inhumane’ approach and had given a 10-days ultimatum to normalise the bank operation.

In a letter issued to registrars and finance officers of all universities, education department‘s secretary Baidyanath Yadav said that all letters issued by the department, asking for suspension of bank accounts have been recalled. The court had on May 29 threatened to take stern action against the senior officers of the department if bank operations of the universities are not restored.

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KK Pathak, ACS, education, KK Pathak, who ordered freezing of bank accounts, had proceeded on a month-long leave after the Patna high court had said that it will be compelled to stop salary of the ACS in case its order is not complied with.

The HC had ordered on May 3 to first clear the dues of last fiscal, while putting in abeyance the freeze order of the department on the bank accounts of the universities. The next date of hearing in the case is June 25, when the court would proceed to decide the issues on merits.

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It is learnt that governor Arlekar initiated the meeting of vice-chancellors. Later, the VCs attended another meeting at the education department chaired by the education minister. Siddharth, who is officiating in the absence of K K Pathak and has tried to resolve many issues with an accommodating approach, was also present along with senior department officials.

Soon after the meeting, the department in the afternoon issued a notification withdrawing the order to freeze bank accounts of Maulana Mazharul Haq Arabic and Persian University, Purnea University, Munger University, and discontinuance of salary of Kameshwar’s Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit Univeristy in compliance to the Patna High Court order.

Also Read: Patna HC stays govt order on freezing of varsities’ bank accounts

“In compliance to the HC order, the bank accounts of all the universities are again operational,” said the letter from secretary (education) Baidyanath Yadav to all the VCs after the meeting at the department, the first since January this year after the go-ahead from the Governor, who is the Chancellor of state universities.

At the meeting at Raj Bhavan, an agreement for implementation of Digital Document Generation System (DDGS) portal and the university management system (UMS) in all the 15 state universities in a phase-wise manner was also signed with Bangluru-based BECIL to cover the entire student life cycle in undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational programmes for providing all kinds of documents.

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UMS is a Web-based ERP software designed for efficient interaction between students, teachers, parents and the management.

BECIL is a mini-Ratna public sector enterprise of the Government of lndia and provides project consultancy services and turnkey solutions.

Arlekar told the VCs that the efforts should be taken towards making universities centres of excellence.

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The high court had last month directed the ACS, education department, Bihar, to release the earlier approved budget of all the universities for the financial year, 2023-24 within 10 days, failing which the salary of the top brass of the education department shall not be paid. “All dues, out of the last year’s budget, which have not been paid to the university, must be paid. If the already approved budget of the financial year, 2023-24 is not released by the respondents concerned Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 (education department’s additional chief secretary, secretary, director (higher education) with 10 days from today, then the their salary shall not be paid,” said the bench of bench of Justice Anjani Kumar Sharan.

Meanwhile, the Raj Bahwan has also issued the notification to invite applications for the appointment of V-Cs on four universities – Bihar Animal Sciences University, Purnea University, Munger University and Nalanda Open University – where positions will fall vacant soon.

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