Rajendra Autonomous College of Balangir, the oldest college in Western Odisha, will not receive its annual University Grants Commission (UGC) grants owing to large scale vacancies in teaching posts and alleged embezzlement of funds. The college had been getting the annual grants since 2002.
Against the sanctioned strength of 62 faculty members, the college has 40 vacant posts. The college has a student strength of 4,000.
Established in 1944, the college got permission to open degree courses in 1965-66 and it opened post-graduation courses in 1978-79.
The faculty crisis has become so acute that even the principal Prasanna Kumar Patra is holding dual responsibilities. He is in-charge of Balangir Sanskrit College and also Rajendra Autonomous College. With the college administration failing to solve the acute staff crisis, the UGC authorities have decided not to release its annual grant of `10 lakh.
The vacancies apart, college sources said, the UGC had taken note of an expenditure of `3.65 lakh towards purchase of computers for the college in violation of its norms. The UGC has set certain guidelines as to what amount would be spent on movable and immovable equipment and infrastructure.
When the college authorities sent the utilisation certificate, the UGC took strong exception to the purchase of the computers and stopped annual fund for 2013-14. Principal in-charge Patra admitted that the UGC had raised objections to the purchase of computers and did not release `10 lakh for current academic year. “The amount was spent in an unauthorised manner by the former principal of the college and other officials,” he said, adding that the Department of Higher Education has been informed about the financial crisis that the college is facing in the absence of UGC grants.
Sources said the UGC has asked the college management to return `3.65 lakh with 10 per cent interest.