The tenure of North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Vice-Chancellor, Prof SK Srivastava, has been extended despite strong opposition from various quarters.
Srivastava’s tenure in office as Vice-Chancellor was to end on September 23.
“The North-Eastern Hill University would like to inform that the President of India, who is also the Visitor of the University has permitted the incumbent Vice Chancellor (NEHU) Prof. S. K. Srivastava to continue in office after expiry of his term on 23rd September, 2020,” a statement issued by NEHU public relations officer, G. Umdor said.
Umdor said as per the communication received from the Ministry of Education, Department of Higher Education, on September 22, 2020, Prof. Srivastava will continue to hold office for such period not exceeding a total period of one year or till his successor is appointed, whichever is earlier.
Srivastava assumed the office of Vice-Chancellor, NEHU on September 24, 2015 for a period of five years which will be completed on September 23, 2020.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC) has been pressurising that Srivastava should hand over charge as per rule on expiry of his tenure.
The JAC had earlier decided to continue its peaceful and democratic movement to impress upon the authorities that Prof Srivastava be not given any extension.
The JAC consisted of the North-Eastern Hill University Teachers’ Association (NEHUTA), North-Eastern Hill University Non-Teaching Staff Association (NEHUNTSA) and North-Eastern Hill University Students’ Union (NEHUSU).
The JAC also staged a protest walk in the campus of the University on September 16 and threatened to intensify its agitation if the present Vice-Chancellor, fails to hand over charge on expiry of his tenure.
The JAC expressed concern over the alleged financial mismanagement and corruption, academic and administrative impropriety by the present Vice-Chancellor and reiterated its demand for a detailed probe and action without delay.
The JAC stated that one of the glaring misdeeds was the failure of Prof Srivastava to get a Chancellor appointed by the government during his tenure.
“The purported game had been not to have a superior upon him so that he gets a free hand in acts of wheeling-dealing, much to the detriment of NEHU. A university, whose Chancellors have been illustrious academicians like Prof MGK Menon and Prof Andre Beteille, has been left without a Chancellor for major part of the term of Prof Srivastava,” JAC chairman Prof XP Mao said.
“We can only surmise that Prof Srivastava deliberately ensured that there is no Chancellor so that his irregular action can’t be under any check and balance.
“Unlike government offices, authority in NEHU is no individual officer but a statutory council. University court, which is supposed to be chaired by a Chancellor, was chaired by Prof Srivastava without placing proper estimates, budget, annual report and audited accounts,” Prof Mao said.
He said the critical oversight of the University Court in financial matters went inoperative.
As a result, estimates with arbitrary premiums added to the basic cost in matters of repair and maintenance along with arbitrarily dictated 10% below the tender value has been made a condition so that malpractice can be carried out under the garb of rule.
The JAC also accused Prof Srivastava of failing to fill up vacancies in teaching positions.
“A clause like 6.4 that allows teachers to go by UGC regulations, 2010 was denied by Prof Srivastva and his cronies. By violating one man one post principle, selected cronies were given plum posts and as a result all the academic and administrative decisions remained suboptimal, bringing down the image of the University,” the JAC said.
“With an otherwise highly performing faculty but with poor administrative management from the top, the rank of NEHU has gone down in all assessments.
“The latest is the Outlook India ranking where NEHU stands at 52 out of 75 universities of India. The ranking downfall is majorly caused by mismanagement and diversion of investment to non-academic purposes, many of which smack of deep-rooted corruption and financial irregularities,” the JAC added.