JAC to intensify agitation if NEHU vice chancellor fails to hand over charge

Nehu Shillong

Shillong, Sept 16: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) has threatened to intensify its agitation if the present North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) vice chancellor, Prof S K Srivastava does not hand over charge on expiry of his tenure.

This came after the JAC, which comprises 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), staged a protest walk in the campus on Wednesday.

Prof Srivastava’s tenure as the vice chancellor of NEHU will end on September 23. “The JAC will continue with its peaceful and democratic movement to impress upon the authorities that under no circumstances Prof Srivastava be not given any extension,” JAC chairman, Prof X P Mao said in a statement.

“We further demand that Prof Srivastava must hand over the 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,” he said.

The JAC has also expressed concern over the alleged financial mismanagement and corruption, academic and administrative impropriety by Prof Srivastava as it reiterated its demand for a detailed probe and action without further delay.

On the other hand, the JAC has also alleged the out-going vice chancellor of convening a council meeting without due notice period and violating COVID protocols.

“Being in quarantine himself, by violating COVID protocols, he convened academic council, a few days before his 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 pertaining to interests of students, teachers and public. “Prof Srivastava wants to bully through his personal 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 misdeed is 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 have been left without a Chancellor for major part of the term of

Prof Srivastava. 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,” 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% below the tender value has been made a condition so that malpractice can be carried out under the garb of rule.

“This has resulted in poor maintenance of the University for which Prof Srivastava and alone he himself is responsible.

His nonchalant and uncaring attitude has brought down quality of services and students and 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 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 Srivastva and his cronies. By violating one man one post principle, select cronies were given plum posts and as a result all the academic and administrative decisions remained suboptimal, bringing down the image of the University. With an otherwise highly performing faculty but with poor administrative management from the top, the rank of NEHU has gone down in all assessments,” it said.

The latest is the Outlook India ranking where NEHU stands at 52 out of 75 universities of India. All 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, it said.