Ever since he became Vice-Chancellor of North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Prof SK Srivastava has been embroiled in one irregularity or another, as reported in the media.
Occasionally, these irregularities have reportedly been the responsibility of his close aides, which Srivastava has condoned.
For example, G Singaiah, first as the Head of the Department of Management and then as Pro-VC of the Tura campus, allegedly constructed a playground without first inviting tenders. The work was worth Rs 42.93 lakh.
Another instance saw Singaiah construct a wall for a newly constructed earthen dam worth Rs 15 lakh. In the so-called football ground, and in violation of the Forest Conservation Act 1980, trees were felled under Singaiah’s oversight, with the bills paid by Srivastava’s office.
NEHU sources said that such acts of omission and commission of Singaiah were exonerated by Srivastava as he himself preferred violation of all the statutory provisions in matters of financial, administrative and academic importance.
The same kind of support was also extended to the Pro-VC of the Shillong campus, Henry Lamin. NEHU reportedly had a condition that bidders quote 10 percent below the tender value for university projects, with the NEHU building committee chaired by Lamin, who recommended the work and approved work orders together. In most such approvals, faulty quotations, in complete violation of general financial rules, are both recommended and approved by Lamin.
Under NEHU’s opaque tendering process, selection of a contractor is not based on clearly disclosed criteria, as it should be as per Central Vigilance Commission guidelines. NEHU’s e-tendering procedure under Srivastava does not follow any rules and transparency, which is used to pick and choose a contractor by Lamin. Being a local his hand in issuing contracts by violating all rules of the central government is a systemic affair in NEHU in collusion between the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-VCs of both Shillong and Tura.
The trio have also looked to take out a massive loan to the tune of Rs 136 crore, thinking that it could be passed on to future generations of students and NEHU staff.
In yet another sensational issue, it is learnt that some Engineers are asked to recover the loss of university coffer by overpayment, while the Executive Engineer and another Junior Engineer were let go with an eyewash warning when the University lost huge money due to payment of ISI marked window sill, which was replaced by locally made iron by these two Engineers. Neither the extent of overpayment was assessed by Prof. Srivastava nor were these two staff from the University’s Engineering section asked to pay back the amount. University sources believe that these incidents clearly show how collisions are nurtured in the University at the cost of the future of lakhs of students and public of Meghalaya and the North-Eastern region in general.