The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) has been embroiled in controversies over appointments, allegations of misuse of official powers and favouritism by the higher authorities.
Moreover, there are also allegations that the officials were not much concerned about some of the R&D institutions associated with the Council trying to attach themselves with Central Government organisations.
It has been alleged that KSCSTE executive vice-president V N Rajashekaran Pillai, against whom the CBI had registered a case in connection with irregularities during his tenure as IGNOU VC, had made appointments for non-available posts and without any non-plan fund allocation.
According to an RTI reply, the appointment of a consultant for a monthly salary of Rs 35,000 was made as per the orders of the executive vice- president and no advertisements were given in this respect. Sources in the KSCSTE said that the administration was kept in the dark while appointing such a consultant. The same is with the appointment of a media consultant. The appointment was again made as per the orders of the executive vice-president. The sources said that as the KSCSTE was a government establishment, it was bound to appoint a public relations Officer on deputation from the Public Relations Department.
However, Pillai denied the allegations and said that everything was done as per rules and regulations. ‘’We do not have the post of a PRO. Though we have asked the government for such a post, it has not been sanctioned. And this was why we have appointed a media consultant and there is nothing wrong in that,’’ he said.
As per the RTI reply, a project assistant at CWRDM sub-centre in Kottayam was appointed as per the orders of the Chief Minister.
An officer of the Finance wing said that though announcements had been made for the establishment of many institutions and research centres, nothing has materialised yet. A senior scientist, on condition of anonymity, said the executive vice-president is now not interested in the affairs of the Council as he is burdened with many issues owing to the cases against him.
The sources said that the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology had already got attached with the Centre and the Centre for Earth Science Studies has set the platform for being taken over by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Pillai said that it was a recognition for the institutions that they were being attached to the Central Government. ‘’I see it as a positive step. But it should be ensured that the Centre appropriately compensates for the Institutions that are being attached as these institutions have been nurtured by the State Government,’’ he said.