MeCAW sent memo to President and PM demand for removal of  Prof Srivastava as VC of NEHU

Shillong, Nov 26: The Meghalaya Confederation for Academic Welfare (MeCAW)  stage a protest in the premise of the North Eastern Hill University to put pressure on the Government of India not to re-appoint    Prof S K Srivastava as the Vice Chancellor of the University.

The MeCAW a body comprising of civil society bodies, teachers’ associations, students bodies and other stakeholders of Education with the objective of ensuring academic welfare of post-secondary students and academic institutions, today sent the memorandum to the President of India and the Prime Minister of India.

In the memorandum that was sent to the President and the Prime Minister, MeCAW state that the reason that made the organisation to opposed re-appointment of Prof S.K Srivastava  on the alleged  mismanagement of the university leading to all round vitiation of academic atmosphere.

The MeCAW is most concerned about the brazen flouting of university norms by Prof.S.K.Srivastava in full complicity with a cabal and so, MeCAW urges your serious and kind attention to all the matters.

In the memorandum MeCAW pointed out that  Prof. S.K.Srivastava failed to pass mandatory annual report, annual accounts, audit report and budget estimates in annual court meetings between 2016-19 and placed such mandatory reports without approval of the court in the parliament.

Such an act of omission was also is carried out with a malafide scheme. To keep himself free from any statutory control as mandated by Act of Parliament, Prof.S.K.Srivastava not only failed to convene 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 tender and issuance of work order to tenderees.

Prof. S.K. Srivastava remained absent most of the time of his tenure, He failed to answer an RTI filed by stakeholders on his absence. The MeCAW is greatly concerned about Prof.S.K.Srivastva’s abuse of power by removal of two Heads of Departments, harassment meted out to women faculty and research scholars.

The  National Commission of women and National Scheduled tribes’ Commission are currently seized with. Offenders of sexual harassment are given a red carpet in Prof.S.K.Srivastva’s regime  by violating seniority as mandatorily prescribed in statute 26, he  appointed juniors as Deans by superseding seniors in schools of studies. By violating one man one post principle.

Prof. S.K.Srivastava appointed his chosen cronies without following principles of fairness and natural justice, as mandated in University ordinance, in many important functional positions and gratified them with extra allowances. Such acts of violation of rules compounded by undue privileges to his cronies have completely vitiated the academic and administrative ecosystem of the University.

Being a caretaker VC, Prof.S.K.Srivastava is proposing to take a huge loan of 136 crores without discussing it with stakeholder bodies of teachers and students. This clearly shows a malafide intent of taking a long term decision that will leave huge financial burden of repayment on the university community, going much beyond his term of office.

The Present VC  invented a strange rule of asking tenderees of a work to quote 10% below the quoted value of a tender. This scuttled competitive bidding. If all the tenderees quote at the same lower level of 10% below the quoted value of work, how will it be decided who should get the work, NEHU violated General Financial Rules repeatedly that prevents any subjective marking between competitors to decide who should be given the work order.

The result is that poor road, poor maintenance of building and residences, water supply without purification and total unhygienic toilets, kitchens in student halls. Works are awarded even on single tender in too many instances clearly showing how competition is discouraged by Prof.S.K.Srivastava and his cronies.

They justify this strange and unheard of diktat of quoting necessarily 10% below the quoted value of work by adopting most dubious method like adding very high premiums to costs of material in arriving at the value of work. Addition of premium in estimates could be anything above 60% to 80% of the market costs of materials.

After escalating value of a work, they ask for quoting necessarily only 10% below the quoted value to hoodwink the public and the Government to tell them that NEHU is saving money. As audit reports are not placed in the University court, so there is no transparency in financial transactions of the University under the regime of Prof.S.K.Srivastva.

Given such and many other instances of willful and malafide acts of disrespect and abuse of university rules, NEHU’s ranking has gone down tremendously and it lost its sheen and glory. The VC has  failed to fill up teachers’ vacancies in all the Departments and the departments functioned in less than optimum faculty strength, the quality and quantity of three teaching.

Research and other important activities have gone down, for which his administrative inefficiency and poor leadership are solely responsible. MeCAW alleged that the VC  acted in the autocratic manner by targeting individual teachers for raising their voice and for exercising their Constitutional rights. The whole purpose of such vindictive act is to keep the public in dark and not to allow exposure of his wrongdoings.

The VC  is reprimanded by Govt.of Meghalaya and local administration for causing violation of COVID protocols by creating crowds of students by ordering them to submit hard copy of their answerscripts. This clearly shows irresponsible and insensitive attitude to tribal students and all other students.

As a public body, the MeCAW believe that the Ministry of Education must act on such acts of violations, omissions and commissions and vindictiveness of Prof.S.K.Srivastava just as it did in the case of Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University, who had been removed on charges of statutory violations.

Taking such a good precedent into account, the Ministry of Education needs to initiate appropriate action for removal of Prof.S.K.Srivastava without any further delay, as his acts of violations are very serious and it affected the University in a very negative way.

The deplorable situation in NEHU has arisen due to the fact that Prof.S.K.Srivastava and his cabal acted without following rules. Such a situation probably would not have arisen had the VC been from within the local stakeholders. So, in the following MeCAW draw the attention to the need of appointing a qualified home grown Professors from Meghalaya in the interest of restoring the semblance of academic, administrative and financial propriety.

Continuously for last three terms, NEHU got VCs from one region of the country, who all could not do exactly a consistent good job as cultural difference with the ethos of Northeastern region came in their way. The Ministry needs to take this factor into account with due weightage. As larger sections of teachers are alienated due to Prof.S.K.Srivastva’s high handed and arbitrary style of running the University, NEHU needs a healing touch.

The prevailing culture of sycophancy and undermining of merit and credible work needs a course correction in terms of a change of guard at NEHU. We implore you to keep in mind that not only all the basic norms and standards are violated, but also NEHU is staring at a grave crisis in every cognizable front.

NEHU, being the earliest central university of Northeastern region could not cumulatively have been in such a degraded state had it been in capable and committed hands. It needs to be seriously considered for a ‘paradigm shift’ by allowing a local stakeholder who is qualified and posses the caliber of leading the university to greater heights by taking along all section without conflicting signals, as was done by the present regime.

Therefore, NEHU needs a qualified home grown local Professor from the university community who can take care of interests of tribal students and people of the state and the region.

Also for  NEHU needs a balanced and healing touch, which can come in all likelihood from someone who can take every segment of teachers along and create a good collegial sense of harmony and coordination among teachers and researchers coming from various backgrounds so that NEHU can again get back its past glory and height.

This will require removal of present stalemate and the failed team of Prof. S.K. Srivastava lock, stock and barrel so that NEHU can have cleaner system. For this, ground level understanding clearly shows that a qualified local Professor will be the best choice.

From among limited number of such available qualified locals, one can think of those who stand out for his or her well rounded experience, capacity to leadership and academic excellence with some depth understanding of university administration. Given NEHU’s special character of working with students and teachers coming from matrilineal society of Meghalaya, one can choose a qualified lady professor from among the locals.

Apart from this, from among Professors from local community including home grown NEHU Professors, who may have an instant ability of carrying along all sections of teachers and students to the common goal of transforming NEHU into an excellent academic institution could be considered for the next incumbent of VC in NEHU.

Not only leader in his or her own specialized field of research, but those is in a unique position of creating a research ambience with cutting edge contributions in various disciplines that are relevant today for the Pandemic and post-pandemic world could also be considered.

MeCAW  demands, A. Fast track completion of the process for appointment of Vice Chancellor by search cum selection committee. B. Appointment of a local qualified Professor who can take every section along. In no way, those who are part of the cabal of Prof. S.K. Srivastava leading the present degradation of NEHU be considered at any stage of selection. C.

All the cases of corruption, favouritism as narrated above needs to be investigated and accountability be fixed. D. Restoration of Heads of department in English and Political Science. E. Immediate removal of Prof. S.K. Srivastava, following the precedent of Delhi University, be accomplished in NEHU in the larger public interest, said Mr Roykupar Synrem Convener, MCAW, Shillong.

 

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