With SK Srivastava’s tenure as the vice-chancellor of North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) ending on September 23, the pressure is mounting that he should hand over charge as per rule on expiry of his tenure.
In a statement, Chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC), Prof X P Mao said that the JAC would continue with its peaceful and democratic movement to impress upon the authorities that Prof Srivastava is not given any extension.
The JAC which comprised 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), had staged a protest walk in the campus of the University and threatened to intensify its agitation if the present vice-chancellor, fails to hand over charge on expiry of his tenure.
“We demand that Prof Srivastava must hand over charge as per rule and demit his office on the due date. It will be a travesty of justice and truth if he is given any leeway to continue and the JAC will be forced to intensify its struggle in all possible democratic means,” Mao warned.
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 also alleged that the vice-chancellor has convened a council meeting without due notice period and in violation of the COVID protocols.
“Being in quarantine himself, by violating COVID protocols, he convened the academic council, a few days before demitting office, a highly irregular act to hurriedly pass irregular and illegal matters,” Prof Mao said.
He said the JAC is raising the matter of such vital importance about the interests of students, teachers and public.
“Prof Srivastava wants to bully through his agenda by convening a highly irregular. Academic Council meeting by violating COVID protocols and by not giving due notice as per provisions of RA-5,” he said.
The JAC chairman further stated that one of the glaring misdeeds is 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,” he said.
“A university whose Chancellors have been illustrious academicians like Prof MGK Menon and Prof Andre Beteille has been left without a Chancellor for a major part of the term of Prof Srivastava,” he added.
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,” he further said.
Unlike the government offices, authority in NEHU is no individual officer but a statutory council,” he further said.
“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,” he 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 per cent below the tender value has been made a condition so that malpractice can be carried out under the garb of the rule.
“This has resulted in poor maintenance of the University for which Prof Srivastava and alone he is responsible. His nonchalant and uncaring attitude has brought down the quality of services and students and the public did not receive any quality service during his tenure of five years,” he said.
The JAC also alleged Prof Srivastava of failing to fill up vacancies in teaching positions adding he also did the selective application of Career advancement scheme by denying the teachers what UGC regulations provide.
“A clause like 6.4 that allows teachers to go by UGC regulations, 2010 was denied by Prof Srivastava and his cronies,” the statement added.
“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 statement further said.
“With an otherwise high performing faculty but with poor administrative management from the top, the rank of NEHU has gone down in all assessments,” it added.
“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 statement added.