Woes of DIK Agriculture University
To all appearances, the treatment being meted out to the Agriculture University of Dera Ismail Khan (DIK) by the government is step-motherly. Ever since his appointment in October 2019, the Vice-Chancellor, Masroor Elahi Babar, has not received any salary for two years. He did not even get any official car. The only source of income for the university is the tuition fees paid by the students. Out of this income, the administration has to pay the salaries of the teachers, the monthly rent of the university building and the electricity bills. The teachers, who duly hold impressive PhD and MPhil degrees, are being paid Rs15,000 a month. This amount is less than even the minimum salary of Rs21,000 announced for unskilled workers. Neither the provincial government nor the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has provided any funds to the university, ever since the classes started about two years ago. Some five months ago, the provincial cabinet approved Rs400 million for the university, but the finance department is yet to release the amount. The skeptics described this treatment as step-motherly. The department took eight months for the approval of the Rs400 million funding summary by the cabinet. A faculty member of the university wondered aloud at the attitude of the finance department. It was constantly refusing to pay the badly-needed funds to the university. The funds had been duly okayed even by the cabinet. The Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Information and Higher Education, Kamran Bangash was on record to have given his commitment on the floor of the KP Assembly. Replying to criticism by the opposition members, he had said that the government had processed the release of the funds, and it would disburse them soon. The university contacted the finance department to know if there was any hitch. The department said that the last quarter of the 2020-21 financial year had begun, and no funds were available with the government. So the money would be released in the 2021-22 budget. In July, when the new fiscal year began, the finance department was reminded of its promise. Its response was like a subterfuge. It said that the government had formed a committee, which would solve the funding issue by reviewing the financial conditions of the universities. Despite all these gimmicks, the teaching staff is optimistic that the funding issue would soon be resolved.