Normal academic as well as administrative activities in the North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) in Shillong has suffered due to absence of a permanent Vice-Chancellor for the past more than a year, with the teaching as well as students’ community there complaining that it was one glaring example of how a premier institution in the region has been neglected by the Centre.
“It has been more than a year that the Vice-Chancellor’s post has fallen vacant. Since then a senior professor has been functioning as an acting VC. But since he is not eligible to take a lot of major decisions, the university is suffering immensely on all fronts. This is classic case of how the Centre has been neglecting the region,” said Prof XP Mao, president of the NEHU Teachers’ Association.
A memorandum sent to the President of India, with copies to the Prime Minister and union HRD minister by the Association said normal functioning of NEHU has come to a virtual standstill because the acting VC is not entitled to perform various statutory duties. “Moreover, he is also not entitled to take major financial decisions, while promotions of the faculty members have been literally frozen for more than a year now,” Prof Mao said.
Moreover, several other important posts in the university are also being clubbed together and vested upon one or two individuals, further affecting normal functioning, Prof Mao pointed out. While one individual is functioning as Controller of Examinations and Registrar apart from teaching in his parent department, another individual is holding dual charge as Deputy Registrar as well as Finance Officer, the NEHUTA president pointed out.
Complaining of lack of concern of the Centre towards the affairs of the Northeast’s first and oldest central university, Prof Mao said, “It appears that the mministry of HRD has failed to take cognizance of our problems by delaying the appointment of a regular Vice-Chancellor.” The memorandunot m that NEHUTA has sent to the Presidnt has also appealed for appointing a “good, honest, efficient, dynamic and learned educationist” and “just anybody” as a regular vice-chancellor of NEHU.
NEHU Students’ Union general secretary Lidingstar Kharsyntiem on the other hand said the administration had collapsed in the absence of a regular Vice-Chancellor. “How long can a prestigious and premier university run through ad-hocism,” Kharsyntiem said, adding that the Students’ Union too has sent a separate memorandum highlighting the woes of the university arising out of non-appointment of a permanent VC.
Established in 1973, NEHU originally had jurisdiction over four states – Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh as well as Mizoram. With the other three states later having their own universities, NEHU is now more a Meghalaya-centric university, but attracts students and scholars from all over. Moreover, the North-Eastern Regional Institute of Science & Technology (NERIST) in Arunachal Pradesh is affiliated to NEHU.