Hit by ‘backlog of salary’, Chennai head of UNI commits suicide

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Senior photo journalist and Chief of Bureau of the Chennai branch of news agency United News of India (UNI), T. Kumar (56), was found dead inside the office on Sunday night.

According to a UNI staffer, Kumar, who was also UNI’s in-charrge for Tamil Nadu, was found hanging in his office on Sunday night. It is believed that he committed suicide.

It has been learnt that Kumar was in the process of arranging his daughter’s marriage, and he was facing financial problems owing to long pending salaries.

Sources told IANS that UNI staffers have not been paid full salaries and only part payments were made at intervals for the past several years.

An affable Kumar joined UNI as a photographer and rose to head the city branch of the news agency.

Condoling Kumar’s death, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said that he has ordered payment of solatium of Rs 3 lakh to Kumar’s family as a special case considering his family situation.

“The UNI should immediately pay its staff their full salaries and the labour department should ensure the same,” said Bharathi Thamizhan, Joint Secretary, Madras Press Club.

It is learnt that Kumar had applied for a loan of Rs 1 lakh against his salary dues for the treatment of his wife who had met with an accident, but only Rs 25,000 was sanctioned.

It is also said that Kumar’s loan application for his daughter’s wedding was not sanctioned by his employer.

“It is extremely painful and tragic that we lost a colleague in such a manner. We all are in a state of shock,” Ajay Kaul, Editor-in-Chief, UNI, told IANS.

“There is no denying that UNI has been going through financial distress and we are making earnest efforts to address the situation,” Kaul added.

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