The Meghalaya Confederation for Academic Welfare (MeCAW) has written to Union Minister of Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal, to demand the removal of North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Vice-Chancellor Prof SK Srivastava.
MeCAW is a body comprising civil society organisations, teachers associations, student groups and other educational stakeholders.
Srivastava’s term as VC expired on September 23, but was extended for a period exceeding not more than one year or until his successor is appointed. Pokhriyal had told cabinet minister AL Hek last month that a replacement would be appointed by the New Year.
In its demand for Srivastava to be replaced, MeCAW alleged that the VC has presided over a series of statutory violations, including academic, administrative and financial abuse and mismanagement, which had led to the all round vitiation of the academic atmosphere.
The confederation claimed that Srivastava has not passed the mandatory annual report, accounts, audit report and budget estimates in the annual court meetings between 2016 and 2019.
“To keep himself free from any statutory control, as mandated by Parliament, Srivastava not only failed to convene the annual court meeting during his tenure, but, in the absence of statutory oversight on spending university funds, he and his cabal grossly violated general financial rules in matters of tenders and issuance of work orders,” the petition alleged.
A “strange” rule with regards to tenders supposedly implemented by Srivastava forces bidders to put in bids 10 per cent below the quoted value of work, which, MeCAW said, “scuttles competitive bidding”.
MeCAW was also peeved at the removal of the Heads of the English and Political Science Departments, and demanded their reinstatement.
It also said that even though Srivastava is currently only a caretaker VC, he is proposing to take out a massive Rs 136 crore loan without discussing the matter with teachers and students.
MeCAW petitioned Pokhriyal to fast-track the appointment of a new Vice-Chancellor, preferably a local qualified professor.
“All the cases of corruption and favouritism, as narrated above, need to be investigated and accountability be fixed,” it concluded.