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Clamour for IAS as varsity heads
(Top) Kushwaha, Razi: New chapter

Ranchi, Nov. 6: The search has begun in right earnest for filling up the posts of two vice-chancellors and a pro vice-chancellor in the state.

All three, S.S. Kushwaha, B. Ekka and Vinondand Jha of Ranchi, Vinoba Bhave and Sidho Kanhu universities respectively, are retiring by the end of December.

The vice-chancellors are appointed by the chancellor in consultation with the government. In practice, the government sends a panel of names to the chancellor, who gives his consent for one of them.

When the present RU vice-chancellor was appointed last time, the then chancellor, M. Rama Jois, had constituted a search committee. RU sources claim the committee was flooded with 350 applications by academicians, who felt they deserved the post. But eventually the committee came up with the name of Kushwaha, a retired professor of physics at Benaras Hindu University.

The situation is different this time as the present chancellor, Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, is a UPA appointee and has taken an active interest in university affairs. It is unlikely that his choice and the state government's choice will converge. In case of such a stalemate, the pro-vice chancellor could be asked to officiate till a decision is taken.

Sources close to the chancellor's office, however, speak of a strong possibility of Razi pressing the case of a serving bureaucrat as the next Ranchi University vice-chancellor. The principal secretary to the governor, Amit Khare, himself has the experience of occupying the hot seat and university teachers recall with satisfaction that Khare had done a creditable job of streamlining the administration and finances in the university office. Khare's name as well as those of some retired IAS officers like Narendra Bhagat and Lakshmi Singh have started doing the rounds even as several university teachers have joined the race of promoting themselves.

Most Ranchi University vice-chancellors during the last decade and a half have been academicians, among them Lal Saheb Singh, Amar Kumar Singh, K.K. Nag, D.P. Gupta, LCCN Shahdeo and Kushwaha. Even stopgap and officiating vice-chancellors during this period have been teachers and principals like C.R. Laha, Sheen Akhtar and Anand Bhushan.

The teachers, however, failed in the administrative role. Only a tough, businesslike and experienced bureaucrat can put RU back on the rails, feel some.

In any case, most of these teacher-vice-chancellors were catapulted to their position by political patronage. One of them, suspended for alleged malpractice as a head examiner, actually was appointed vice-chancellor and replaced the VC who had placed him under suspension.

Many of these VCs played an active role in mobilising transport and people for Laloo Yadav and Ranjan Yadav's rallies in Patna.

Some university officials believe that in order to restore dignity to the office of the vice-chancellor, the appointment should strictly be by invitation. The chancellor, they said, could even jointly approach eminent academic-administrators like Deepak Nayyar, former Delhi University vice-chancellor, to take up the challenge of rebuilding RU.

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