The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), the country's premier research organisation, faced huge embarrassment as the February salaries of scientists and staff members were delayed by nearly a week, official sources said in Mumbai on Friday.
On the condition of anonymity, a TIFR official confirmed that the salaries, of which only 50 per cent was paid earlier, have not been fully paid to all. He refused to elaborate on the reasons.
The development, a first ever in the TIFR's 74-year-old history, was reportedly on account of an unexplained "cash crunch" in the organisation which comes under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) which is handled by the Prime Minister's Office.
On March 1, the employees were irked when salaries were not deposited into their bank accounts and on March 6, the situation worsened when the TIFR Registrar's notice on the delayed salaries reached the staffers.
"Due to insufficient funds, all staff members and students/post-doctoral fellows of TIFR in centres and field stations will be paid 50 per cent of the net salary for the month of February. Remaining part of the salary will be paid when sufficient funds are available. All deductions will be calculated on full salary and will be deposited to respective authorities as per rules," said the notice dated March 6.
A copy of the notice promptly found its way onto the social media, embarrassing the TIFR over the public perceptions of its financial health, and was the subject of intense debate, though the issue was resolved on Thursday evening.
Anticipating the situation, the DAE had even sought interim funds of Rs 70 crore from the Tata Memorial Centre specifically to tide over the crisis till its funds arrived from the Centre.
Enjoying the status of a "Deemed University", the TIFR was founded in 1945 with the late nuclear physicist Homi J. Bhabha as its first director. It now has centres in Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, employing hundreds of people in different categories.