TODAY -

FESOK sets week's deadline to resolve MTU issues
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, May 16 2022: Federal Students' Organisation, Kangleipak (FESOK) has demanded the state government to rectify the alleged wrongful appointment of the Vice Chancellor of Manipur Technical University (MTU) and all other issues plaguing the varsity within 7 days.

Addressing a press meet held at FESOK's office here on Monday, its vice president Ronald Kenedy Longjam said that MTU's objective is to impart technical and practical skills to students in certain trades and help them in building career in the technical field.

However, the appointment of the second VC was done in violation of the criteria laid down under Section 7.3 of UGC, as was found during a detailed investigation conducted by FESOK.

Although the government has declared to end corruption in the education sector and in the recruitment of teachers, it is strange to learn that the VC appointed for MTU does not fulfil the eligibility criteria.

As such, it is difficult to imagine any positive development in the university if it is to be run by an incompetent and unqualified administrator.

This is simply an act of the government swinging an axe on its own foot, he remarked.

Kenedy then said that the incumbent MTU VC Dr Tongbram Bhabeswar, who was appointed with the approval of the Governor, did not fulfil the UGC criteria for the post.

Recently, the Tamil Nadu government passed a Bill revoking the power held by a governor to appoint a VC for a university.

This is a step in the right direction, as it will deter saffronisation of educational institutions.

Asserting that FESOK will not tolerate any ill-intentioned motives to interfere/affect the education sector including academic institutions, the vice president gave a detailed explanation on how the second VC of MTU has been appointed through "wrongful" means.

He continued that the students received multiple complaints regarding the VC's appointment, in addition to learning about the statements issued by various organisations and disruption of academic atmosphere in MTU due to protests over the matter.

However, no clarification was issued from the university's side till date.

He said: "It is unfortunate to have the top officials of Higher & Technical Education Directorate ignoring the matter, which initially began with the retirement of former VC Prof Laiphrakpam Tombi Singh on October 29, 2020.Higher & Technical Education commissioner M Harekrishna acted as VC in-charge for a brief period until pressure mounted on the government to appoint a regular VC and a registrar within 6 months.

"In accordance with MTU Act & Rules, former VC L Tombi was given the charge for some time as a Stop Gap arrangement.

However, the core issue is that the new VC appointed by the Governor on November 8, 2021, does not fulfil the criteria laid down under section 7.3.0 of UGC Regulation, 2018.The criteria clearly states that for a person to be appointed to the post of VC post should have held the post of a professor in a university or an equivalent post at a reputed research organisation or a leader of an academic organisation with 10 years of experience.

"On August 12 last, a notification issued by MTU registrar Ng Bhogendra Meitei clearly highlighted-the above criterion, but the person appointed for the post did not even fulfil the same.

All of these indicate that Dr Bhabeswar used underhanded tactics to secure the post.

He (Bhabeswar) was only a selection grade lecturer at Government Polytechnic, Takyel, before getting deput ed to Controller of Technical Education office as a deputy director and receiving a pay scale of Rs 37,400-67,000.Thus, it is questionable how the selection committee took his position to be equivalent to that of a professor.

This also raises the question whether no other qualified person could be found for the job or whether dirty politics was at play".

Kenedy further stated the FESOK team also found that Dr Bhabeswar was forcefully appointed as principal in-charge of Government Polytechnic, Takyel on February 29, 2016.However, some teachers filed a complaint to the law court stating that Dr Bhabeswar did not fulfil the qualifications for the post of principal as per the norms of All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

The High Court of Manipur quashed the appointment soon after, the vice president conveyed, while remarking that a degree institute cannot be held on the same level as a university and as such, the people will not accept the appointment of a teacher from a degree institute as a VC of a university.

Furthermore, Dr Bhabeswar temporarily was part of the guest faculty at MIT but he elevated himself to the post of guest professor of civil engineering in his bio-data/resume.

This shows the complete lack moral integrity on his part.

If Dr Bhabeswar is truly a distinguished academician, he should clearly reveal to the people of the state how many research papers he had published in science journals, the number of papers presented at seminars or conferences, and how many PhD candidates he has guided so far, the vice president demanded.

Urging all concerned, teaching and non-teaching staff, fraternity and students, not to should accept the appointment of lecturer in selection grade to serve as the VC of the university, Kenedy questioned if the government is trying to destroy the future pillars of the society.

Kenedy then demanded the Chief Minister and the education minister to provide a positive response in the matter, by resolving the wrongful appointment of the VC and other issues concerning MTU within 7 days.


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