The State government on Thursday took a decisive step in dealing with the financial logjam at Annamalai University, by appointing an IAS officer as the varsity’s administrator. The move comes weeks after a special audit revealed financial irregularities to the tune of hundreds of crores, apart from a failure to deposit PF money.
The government’s decision is also a major landmark in the context of the special status enjoyed by the Annamalai University within the State’s higher education setup. IAS officer Shiv Das Meena, hitherto Commissioner of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, would take charge in the specially created post of Administrator of the Annamalai University. The order creating the post and appointing Meena to it mandated the post for a period of one year or till the need for it ceased, whichever comes earlier.
Questions over the varsity’s future were also raised during the debate on the demand for grants of the Higher Education Department, which were tabled in the Assembly by the Department’s Minister P Palaniappan just hours before the government announced the appointment. K Balakrishnan, CPI (M) MLA for Chidambaram constituency where Annamalai University is located, appealed to the government to take decisive measures to ensure that the varsity is nursed back to financial health in the interest of thousands of its staff and students. The appeal was the latest in a string of demonstrations and demands for the government to take matters into its own hands ever since trouble at the University went public.
The move found resonance with bodies representing university and college teachers. “This is a welcome step. It shows the government’s resolve to clean up the Augean Stables at Annamalai University,” said All India Federation of University & College Teachers’ Organisations vice president Ravichandran.