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Gurukulam staff without pay for 8 months

The Vasthu Vidya Gurukulam, a self-supported State-run institution at Aranmula attached to the Department of Culture for promoting traditional architecture and mural paintings, is in a financial crisis. Its 21 employees have not received salary for the past eight months.

Started in 1993, the gurukulam could develop a self-sustainable model over the next 10 years. Its consultancy wing could generate revenue of ₹10 lakh a month through engineering consultation, documentation of heritage buildings, diploma and certificate courses in traditional architecture and mural painting, and sale of mural paintings.

The gurukulam needs to pay ₹5,30,190 as salary to its 12 permanent staff, besides ₹1,83,000 for the nine temporary staff every month. The institution is without a full-time executive director after the retirement of its founder executive director in 2017.

Director of Cultural Affairs Department T.R.Sadasivan Nair, was given additional charge of executive director for the next one year.

However, Mr. Nair was replaced by Karunadas, a Department of Archaeology official for the next one year on deputation.

Mr. Nair, who was given charge of the institution again a few months ago, said the finances of the institution were in the doldrums.

The gurukulam is a grant-in-aid institution entitled only to Plan funds for developmental activities. It has to depend on its revenue from engineering consultancy work and the mural art division for meeting the salary of its staff, he said.

Mr. Nair said the institution used to have a healthy fixed bank deposit and generated enough revenue to pay its staff. The gurukulam had sought non-Plan allocation from the government to pay salary to its employees, he said.

Inquiry sought

T.K.A. Nair, principal secretary to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is the gurukulam chairman, said the executive director should order an inquiry into the entire affairs and plug revenue loss of the institution.

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