RAIPUR: The Kushabhau Thakre University of Journalism and Mass Communication in Raipur finds itself in a serious financial quandary as the institution is yet to receive any release of the annual budgetary sanction from the Chhattisgarh government for the ongoing academic session.
The state journalism university with around 500 students enrolled doesn't have funds to even pay the monthly salaries to both teaching and non-teaching staff including the vice-chancellor for the past four months.
"Never before such situation happened when the salaries to staff were not paid with now the fourth month running. We have earlier taken-up the issue with the senior state officials but to no avail. It has been also raised in the state Assembly twice and even Governor Anusuiya Uike personally has spoken to top officials for the release of the budget for salaries. We are still not aware about the reason behind the excessive delay," said Anand Shankar Bahadur, the Registrar.
Some university officials and the political observers believed that the apparent reason for the varsity grappling with the financial difficulties or the grants been blocked could be the appointment of Baldev Bhai Sharma, the former editor of 'Panchjanya' — the RSS mouthpiece, as the vice-chancellor by the Governor in February last year.
The Bhupesh Baghel government was then evidently irked with the Rajbhawan’s decision.
Following this, the Congress-ruled government took a cabinet decision in March 2020 to rename the university from Kushabhau Thakre (father figure of the BJP who contributed in strengthening the party from scratch) as Chandulal Chandrakar university of journalism and mass communication. However, despite the state government urging the Governor for approval, she is yet to give her assent on it.
Chandrakar was former journalist and a senior Congress leader, among the first to propagate the idea of a separate Chhattisgarh state from undivided Madhya Pradesh.
“Owing to such past discord between the state government and the Governor, it appears the university is paying the price. And the entire academic session likely to be over without any grant received. Whatever salaries have been disbursed 3-4 months ago were managed from the students’ fees. It’s absolutely pathetic situation as at one point of time the university had barely Rs 10,000 in its account," said a senior academician of the university on condition of anonymity.
When asked, the Secretary (higher education) Dhananjay Dewangan said, "The issue of release of funds remains pending and under consideration with the finance department. We have little idea regarding the delay."
During the earlier BJP’s regime led by the then CM Raman Singh, three state universities were formed including the Kushabhau Thakre University of Journalism in 2005.
"As far as we know the other two state universities — Chhattisgarh Swami Vivekanand Technical University and Pandit Sundarlal Sharma (Open) University, simultaneously came into existence with our institution, didn’t face any issue of release of funds or salaries so far," said Prof Shahid Ali of Kushabhau Thakre University.
"Despite all the efforts we haven’t received any grant from the government since April 2020," the Registrar added.