NIT-R Tussle: MHRD's Face Saving Act Earns Faculty Ire

Published: 26th April 2016 07:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2016 07:19 AM   |  A+A-

ROURKELA: Accused of indecisiveness in the internal administrative tussle of National Institute of Technology-Rourkela (NIT-R), the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) acted late to save its face but ended up creating a mess.

Secretary in the Ministry VS Oberoi on Friday reportedly asked NIT-R Director Prof SK Sarangi and the institute’s Honorary Chairperson of the Board of Governor (BoG) Vasantha Ramaswamy, to tender their resignations.

The NIT-R community, however, feels MHRD has done injustice to the Director. Though the administrative tussle between the two cropped up in January 2015, the MHRD preferred to be a fence-sitter citing that the institute is an autonomous body. But, the Ministry in most of the contentious issues indirectly corroborated the decisions of the Director.

The BoG is the highest body with 11 members, but it continues to function with nine members after the tenure of Prof Rintu Bannerjee and Dr RK Bhandari ended in March 2014.

Both the non-bona fide members had been part of BoG meetings till the MHRD woke up late in August 2015 and in a dissent note wrote to the Chairperson not to invite them. The BoG continues to function with nine members.

A section of the campus fraternity is also unhappy with the State Government for nominating a senior IAS officer and a senior chemistry professor as ‘technologists’ to be BoG members.

Due to the Ministry’s silence, NIT-R continued to bleed in shape of erosion of reputation and cut in grant by the MHRD. With the Director and Chairperson sticking to their guns on certain issues, including dismissal of a probationary officer on charges of financial impropriety, dispute in a case of PhD degree and suspension of the Registrar, the problems persisted.

From September 2015, three BoG meetings were wasted on the agenda of revoking the suspension of Registrar as the Director insisted on the suspension and the Chairperson wanted it revoked.

NIT-R Dean (Academic) and new member of BoG Prof Bansidhar Majhi said, “We are shocked to learn that the Director has been asked to resign. Under his leadership, NIT-R has achieved unprecedented academic excellence, growth in infrastructure, research and other academic activities.” The last 14 years under the leadership of Sarangi were the ‘golden era’ for the institute, he added.

The Director, whose tenure expires on May 25, said tendering resignation is a voluntary decision for him in the larger interest of the institute. The BoG Chairperson was not reachable for comment.

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