The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cash pinch hits campus posts

The cash-crunch cloud over Writers’ Buildings has cast a shadow on College Street, too.

Calcutta University (CU), say sources, is planning to push back the recruitment of teachers to fill nearly 200 posts lying vacant for the past several years.

The proposed move to consign recruitment to the backburner comes in the wake of a recent directive from the state finance department, asking CU not to seek funds from the government against the teaching posts lying vacant.

The varsity had invited applications for these posts in two phases, between mid-July and mid-August. According to officials in the university’s recruitment section, the last date for receiving applications was August 13. Over 2,000 candidates had responded to the advertisements that appeared in city dailies.

“We have been able to complete the process of recruiting only four teachers in the medicine faculty, of the 200 vacancies in all 60 departments. With the government launching an austerity drive, we have decided to stall the recruitment procedure for now,” said an official.

Sources in the university’s recruitment section said even though the posts had been lying vacant for a long time, the university had been drawing funds from the government every year for these. This had drawn the attention of the CU internal auditors. In last year’s annual audit report, the government had expressed “serious concern” over the manner in which the university was drawing funds against the vacant posts and diverting them for other purposes.

Chastened by the audit report, the university authorities decided to fill the vacancies this year.

CU registrar Ujjal Basu, however, ruled out “overdrawing of funds” from the government against all teaching posts lying vacant. According to Basu, the government allotted funds to the university in the form of a maintenance grant that was utilised by the authorities for various purposes, including payment of teachers’ salaries. So, the question of drawing specific funds for the vacant posts did not arise, he argued.

Basu admitted that the government’s austerity drive extended to restricting recruitment on campus, but added that the university would take adequate steps to fill the posts “on the basis of the needs of the students”.

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