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Premier pharma institute NIPER going sick?

National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research,Mohali,was established 12 years ago.

Written by Rajni Shaleen Chopra | Chandigarh |
December 13, 2010 5:02:58 am

National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER),Mohali,was established 12 years ago. More than Rs 400 crore of hard-earned tax payers money has been pumped into it,and over Rs 200 crores as project money. Yet,not even a single patent of the institute has been successfully commercialised till date.

“NIPER should be run as an autonomous institution by a group of reputed scientists,but unfortunately it is being run by bureaucrats both in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and outside,vested nexus of few scientists for their personal growth by promoting dummy statutory committees and recruiting only favorites.”

More than 47 sanctioned faculty positions have been lying vacant for a number of years,although infrastructure has been created at the cost of Rs 200 crore,and is mostly lying un-operational. The scientists are being victimised.”

The above lines are from the letter written by MP Abani Roy to President Pratibha Patil on November 26 this year,regarding the absymal state of affairs at NIPER. The institute is under the Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilisers,and Roy is Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Chemical and Fertilizers.

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The highest statutory body of NIPER,the Board of Governors (BOG) completed its three-year term in December 2009. Roy has written in his letter to the President,”The working of BOG of 2006-2009 had exposed the misadventures at NIPER. The earlier BOG had attendance of around 8 to 9 members in the scarce meetings,in spite of the strength of 23 members during 2006-2009. This clearly points out that the high and mighty are recommended only for self-glorification,and not in interest of NIPER.”

Roy has further written to the President that “information under Right To Information Act has revealed the mismanagement prevalent in NIPER.” He has enclosed in his letter to the President,a copy of the letter written in April 2009 by T. Ramasami,Secretary Department of Science and Technology and former Chairperson of the Board of Governors of NIPER. According to Roy,Ramasami’s letter “admits total failure of system and procedures at NIPER”. Ramasami has stated in his letter that he has requested the Department of Pharmaceuticals to relieve him of the chairmanship of the Board of Governors of NIPER. The reason he cited officially is that the BOG deals with governance issues,and hence should be chaired by someone else.

Interaction with the senior faculty at NIPER reveals deep unrest among scientists and faculty members,and other sections of employees at the institute.

Faculty members say that that institute is being allowed to decay due to lack of support and care,leading to suffocation amongst researchers. Despite a lapse of nearly an year,neither the Board of Governors has been constituted nor a regular Director appointed. Dr.K.K.Bhutani joined as ‘officiating director’ temporarily in Jan,2010,and continues on the post.

NIPER follows the five-year contractual employment system,but working conditions are deteriorating allegedly due to misuse of the contractual system by the management here. In the past few years,more than 10 faculty members have resigned and left the institute midway through the contract,which includes one Bhatnagar Awardee.

Arvind Saklani,Senior Group Leader at Piramal Life Sciences,Mumbai,worked at NIPER for three years as Assistant Professor,and left the institute in 2007,before his contract finished. Talking to The Indian Express,he said,”I had joined NIPER with a dream of great scientific research,but my experience was really bitter. Because of some people in the senior faculty,the institute has deteriorated much. Somebody else takes the credit for your research,and you have to compromise with your work,your ethics,” said Saklani.

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