The Joint Action Committee called for the protest walk before NEHU administrative block

Shillong, Sept 16: The Joint Action Committee (JAC)  of North-Eastern Hill University Teachers’ Association (NEHUTA); North-Eastern Hill University Non-Teaching Staff Association(NEHUNTSA) and North-Eastern Hill University Students’ Union (NEHUSU) Shillong and Tura to day called for the protest walk before NEHU administrative block to highlight all round failure of Prof. S.K. Srivastva in running the University as per the Act of Parliament that has brought the University into existence.

The JAC Alleged  that of late Prof. S.K.Srivastava, after failing to defend his indefensible acts is resorting to cheap tactics of telling a lie ten times, hundred times and thousand times.

Without convening mandatory annual University court meeting and without discussing annual report, annual accounts and audit report in due time, Prof.S.K.Srivastava violated University’s Act and Statute with contempt and went to the extent of presenting various mandatory reports to the parliament without following any due process.

These acts standing in total contravention of NEHU rules have serious academic, administrative and financial ramifications- much to the detriment of University’s ecosystem, as each of such highly anomalous, prima facie illegal and irregular acts require that he be removed immediately and not allowed to continue and any extension beyond his tenure be not granted to him.

The JAC urge upon the Union Government to take immediate action on Prof.S.K.Srivastava for such blunders and violations throughout his tenure of five years. Therefore, there is no other way but a proper investigation needs to be carried out in such continuous acts of violation and contravention to NEHU rules and its damaging consequences for the University.

A litany of such misdeeds plagues NEHU, which JAC, by its democratic movement aims to correct and make NEHU a better University. Instance of Academic Council meeting held without quorum; minutes of statutory bodies neither uploaded online nor finalized on time tied with manipulations of minutes of Executive Council, Board of Research Studies never convened in last five years, Audit report never presented before University Court and such other serious subversions of the statutory functioning of the University have destroyed the academic, administrative and financial propriety beyond all proportion.

The JAC also mention that the  academic council meeting is convened by Prof. S.K. Srivastava without due notice period. Being in quarantine himself, by violating COVID protocols, he has convened academic council, few days before his demitting office, a highly irregular act to hurriedly pass irregular and illegal matters.

The JAC is raising the matter of such vital importance pertaining to interests of students, teachers and public. Prof. S.K.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.

One of the glaring the JAC alleged the misdeed is failure of Prof. S.K. 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 who’s Chancellors have been illustrious academicians like Prof. M.G.K. Menon and Prof. Andre Beteille have been left without a Chancellor for major part of the term of Prof. S.K. Srivastava. The JAC said that they can only surmise that Prof. S.K. 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. S.K. Srivastava without placing proper estimates, budget, annual report and audited accounts.

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 into poor maintenance of the University for which Prof. S.K. 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.

Prof. S.K. Srivastava failed to fill up vacancies in teaching positions. 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. S.K. Srivastva and his cronies. The JAC also alleged 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. 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. One of the major ways in which Prof. S.K. Srivastava and his cronies operated is to target individual faculty member and even deny then the statutory right of raising ‘collective grievances’ by elected bodies.

Another tranche of wrongdoings will show how Prof. S.K. Srivastava’s could not deliver any good. He has convened the next academic council meeting slated by him on 17 th without adequate notice as per University’s ordinance RA-5. Six days before his term coming to an end, he is blatantly violating University ordinance by not giving proper notice.

In yet another flagrant instance of making university lose its money, Income Tax Department fined NEHU to the tune of 22 crores for not remitting income tax, although income tax is deducted at source.

It is a big loss for the University. Just before demitting office his attempts to take major decisions like changing University’s ordinance and granting undue promotion and putting long term financial burden on the University are glaring instances of his abuse and misuse of the office of Vice Chancellor.

By remaining absent and not answering RTI question about his absence from the University, Prof. S.K. Srivastava attempted to hide his uncaring acts towards the University.

As a result, loads of files remained pending throughout five years and there has been complete intransparency in administrative decision procedures. Chosen cronies are given undue benefits and deserving ones are denied promotions and due compensation. Even when Central Vigilance Commission admonished, it is not clear whether any action followed or not.

The JAC highlights these and many more issues of massive institutional harm and irreparable damage to its working environment by Prof.S.K.Srivastava and his cronies to appeal to the Central government that the premier university be saved from any further damage by continuing a nonperforming VC beyond his term.

Removal of two Heads of Departments during Pandemic and appointing Junior Professors as Deans are evidences of how Prof. S.K. Srivastva breached all academic propriety and how he violated important statutes of NEHU.

The JAC further states categorically that concerns of financial mismanagement and corruption, academic and administrative impropriety by Prof. S.K. Srivastava reached to such an extent that it requires a detailed probe and action needs to be initiated without any further delay.

The JAC, therefore, shall continue with its peaceful and democratic movement to impress upon the Authorities that under no circumstances Prof.S.K.Srivastava be not given any extension. We further demand that Prof. S.K. 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 said Prof. X.P. Mao Cahriman and Dr B Stem Secretary in the press statement issued to the media today.

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