The already strained ties between West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose and the state government took a turn for worse after Raj Bhavan issued a circular stating that the Governor would be “discharging the duties of vice-chancellors” in 14 universities where interim VCs were yet to be appointed.
The circular, which was issued on Thursday night, stated, “It is observed that students of a few state universities in West Bengal where the VC posts are vacant are facing difficulties in obtaining degree certificates and other documents. To provide them relief, H’ble Governor of West Bengal in his capacity as the Chancellor has decided to discharge the duties of the VCs in these Universities till new interim VCs are appointed.”
The circular also said students can contact Raj Bhavan’s Peace Room and even meet the Governor in Circuit House after online registration under the ‘Amne Samne’ programme.
“Students can email their grievances to email@example.com or contact the Peace Room at 03322001642. They can also meet the Governor face to face in the Raj Bhavan or during tour or in the circuit houses with online registration under the ‘Amne Same’ programme while on tour. Hon’ble Governor will also pay frequent visits to the universities to meet the students,” the circular stated.
In the circular, the Raj Bhavan also announced Dr Raj Kumar Kothari would be appointed the officiating vice-chancellor of the West Bengal State University.
The appointment evoked a sharp response from West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu on Friday who alleged that the Governor was acting arbitrarily while appointing interim vice-chancellors in state universities.
The minister said the government will be “forced” to take the legal route if Governor C V Ananda Bose continues to unilaterally appoint VCs without the state’s consent.
He also expressed dismay over reports that the Governor has taken the responsibility of discharging functions in 14 of the 20 other universities in the state till the appointments are made.
“How can the Governor be the chancellor and vice-chancellor of a university at the same time? Can two items prepared from the same rice grain be the same ? It seems the governor believes in it. Don’t know under which provisions of the law he is doing these things. Bose is acting at will without bothering to consult a democratically elected government. We will be forced to take the legal route if such things continue,” Basu told reporters in the Assembly lobby when asked about the Governor’s move. The Educationists’ Forum, which comprises professors of various colleges and universities of Bengal, termed the announcement as “illogical” and “omnious”.
In a statement issued on Friday, the forum said, “The Governor-cum-Chancellor-cum-Vice Chancellor seems to have created an illegal triad of roles. He seems to be an aspirant for making new histories the world over. The Chancellor seems to assume the “15 in1” role without any legal sanction. His most recent illogical and illegal announcement is not only bizarre but ominous. After seeking names of senior-most professors from the universities, disregarding these, nominating various underqualified persons of choice, removing them at will and subverting the due process of search and selection committee formations, the Chancellor has now gone hundred steps ahead in creating a world record of shame and desperation.”
— With PTI inputs
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