The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Grant embargo stalls varsity

The ongoing funds crisis of the state government has jeopardised day-to-day academic activities at Calcutta University (CU).

In a frantic bid to cut costs, the university authorities have directed the heads of all departments in the science and technology faculties to refrain from asking for even nominal amounts. According to the directive, the embargo will remain effective for at least three months, till the current fiscal ends.

This, the heads of departments say, has all but paralysed the routine. “We have been told not to submit bills or purchase any kind of material required for conducting experiments in the laboratories. Restrictions have been imposed on the purchase and repair of equipment for the laboratories as well,” said the head of a department at Rajabazar Science College.

Tapan Mukherjee, CU pro vice-chancellor, finance, held a meeting with the heads of departments at Rajabazar Science College and Ballygunge Science College, where the science and technology departments are located, and the teachers were directed to stop sending the bills.

The directive further says that the release of funds under major research projects will be kept suspended for the remaining three months of the fiscal. This has further aggravated the resentment among teachers and research scholars.

“The authorities have no right to stop the flow of funds to research projects, since such funds are mostly sponsored by the Centre’s funding agencies,” said a scholar. Funds for research projects from the agencies reach the university via the state government. “We are surprised that the government is blocking funds in this manner, knowing fully well that these projects are time-barred. Blocking funds will delay completion of the projects,” pointed out a teacher.

“The present stock of chemicals and other materials in the laboratories will last till the end of this month. After that, students will have to be sent back home,” said teachers of the chemical engineering and chemistry departments. The situation, they said, was unprecedented.

Pro vice-chancellor Mukherjee admitted he had met the heads of the science and technology departments to inform them about the funds crunch being faced by the university, in the wake of insufficient grants from the government. He, however, refused to elaborate on the issue.

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