PMC bank: Rs 18 crore locked, 37 schools in limbo
One of Mumbai's best known educational societies is feeling the pinch as most of its trust funds are locked in PMC Bank
Joining the ranks of thousands reeling under the RBI clampdown on Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank is an education trust that runs 37 city schools. The Guru Nanak Vidyak Society (GNVS), which manages several educational institutions and also the Guru Nanak Hospital in Bandra East, had Rs 18 crore of its funds stuck in PMC Bank.
Now, the trust is finding it an uphill task to clear upcoming property tax, GST returns, water and electricity bills, and is worried about the plight of 20,000 students and hundreds of employees, who are yet to be paid their September salaries. GNVS trustee Rajasingh Johar said the trust had Rs 10 crore in FDs in PMC Bank, and another Rs 8 crore for expenses of the institutions, while the hospital had Rs 27 lakh, including Rs 15 lakh in FDs.
"The agencies concerned may or may not allow us to carry forward arrears, failing which the educational intuitions and hospitals will have their basic water and power connections disconnected," said GNVS Chairman Manjit Singh Bhatti. "We have not been given any solution other than assurances that the bank won't shut down and that our money is safe."
Johar, who is also a railway contractor, has his personal savings and current accounts in PMC bank. "I am unable to pay 25 of my employees. This Dussehra and Diwali have turned black for our employees," he said.
Bhatti added, "While our institutions are government-aided, we pay the full salaries of some staff members. Two days ago, the unaided staff met me and said they were worried about home loan EMIs. We, as a trust, are helpless. All our funds were in PMC bank and we do not have any surplus to pay the unaided staff. Also, there were some who had weddings and other urgent personal expenses. All we could do is sympathise with them."
Guru Nanak Higher Secondary School
Madhavi Naik, principal, Gurunanak Higher Secondary School, Sion Koliwada, said, "Our school has about 30 non-aided teaching and non-teaching staff, whose salaries are usually paid between the 7th and 10th of every month. Our electricity bill of Rs 5 lakh will also be due soon."
Tuition fees and ancillary charges paid by students at the beginning of the academic year were deposited in PMC Bank, which had even put in place a system where parents could deposit the fees directly using a mobile application.
"Last year, the school asked parents to make direct payment through the application and we maintained a parallel record," said Naik. "At the end of the year, when we called the bank to tally records, we found a huge discrepancy. As per our data, Rs 60,000 needed to be collected from students who had not used the mobile application, while the Bank's records showed Rs 5 lakh was yet to collected. We asked the bank to rectify the records, but they did not do it at all."
There are 20,000 students who study at Gurunanak Vidyak Society's several educational institutions. Pic/ Bipin Kokate
GNVS has called for a meeting on Saturday to decide the next course of action.
'Want CBI probe'
Some stakeholders said they were surprised by the arrest of disgraced MD Joy Thomas's on Friday, saying he was definitely under the pressure of the chairman and board, who should be solely held responsible for the mess. They also demanded a CBI probe, saying Mumbai Police's EOW may have a limited scope, while the Bank has several branches outside the city and state.
No. of non-aided staff employed by Guru Nanak school
Money GNVS Trust has in FDs with PMC Bank
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