The University Grants Commission (UGC) has penalised three degree colleges of the summer capital and retrieved funds worth Rs 30 lakhs released eight years ago under Basic Science Research (BSR) programme for purchasing science equipments.
An official said UGC released Rs 10 lakh to each college under BSR but few colleges across country including three degree colleges of Srinagar were penalised and asked to repay the amount to UGC along with the interest.
“The UGC raised objections that funds were released in 2010 when the colleges had valid NAAC accreditation. But these funds were utilised during the period when accreditation of the institutions was expired,” an official said. He said the basic amount was deposited back to UGC months ago.
“But UGC has asked these colleges to also deposit the amount of interest of Rs 10 lakh for past eight years which has been opposed by the college principals,” the officials said.
The funds released under BSR by UGC in 2010 were to be utilised within a time frame of six months by the concerned colleges.
“Even the college principals agreed to pay the interest of five months but UGC didn’t agree on that,” said an official privy to the matter.
The three colleges which were penalised include Government Women College M A road Srinagar, Islamia College and SP College Srinagar. “Accreditation of MA Road College has expired in 2009 but we get an extension period of one and a half year to get it revalidated. But till now the accreditation of the college has not been renewed,” an official said.
Newly appointed principal in M A road college, Yasmeen Ashai however said the renewal of NAAC accreditation for college was under process and will be completed in June.
The NAAC accreditation of SP college was renewed in 2017 but the BSR funds have been utilised by the college before renewal of accreditation.
“The funds were utilized genuinely but still UGC asked us to deposit it back,” the college principal said.
Besides retrieving BSR funds, UGC also imposed ban on hiring substitute teachers by these colleges in place of permanent faculty members who opt for research programmes under Faculty Improvement Programme (FIP).
“We have two substitute teachers in our college who are without salary. But we have taken up the matter with director colleges. We are hopeful that the issue gets resolved and our substitute teachers will be paid their salary,” Yasmeen Ashai said.
An official said the salary of substitute may be released as the colleges have deposited the funds to UGC which were released under BSR programme.
Director colleges J&K Muhammad Yaseen Shah said all the three colleges have deposited the amount to UGC “but the issue was lingering due to difference over demand on amount of interest.”
“But we are in touch with UGC and are demanding relaxation of interest,” he said.
He said the funds for salary of substitute teachers hired under FIP programme will be also released. “We are hopeful that once issue of SBR gets resolved, UGC may release salary of substitute teachers which have been engaged by the colleges,” he said.