The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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VC escapes axe, faces showcause volley

Ranchi, May 2: The chancellor today stopped short of sacking the vice-chancellor (VC) of Sidho Kanho Murmu University, Dumka.

But in a rare indictment, the chancellor’s office froze his administrative powers and financial powers above Rs 25,000 while asking him to reply to a showcause.

It reduced the VC, Phatik Chandra Hembrom, to a rubber-stamp and eroded effectively his authority. But even this measure appears to have come a little too late in the day, as Hembrom is due tocomplete his three-year tenure next month.

The soft approach to Hembrom, who is also a former chairman of the Jharkhand Public Service Commission, has come as a surprise because charges against him include “wilful violation of rules and directions from the Raj Bhavan, making illegal appointments, making exorbitant payment to a private architect and unauthorised delegation of power”.

Hembrom, among other things, had paid a Chandigarh-based firm of architects Rs 80 lakhs, solely at his discretion, for submitting plan for a building that would cost Rs 550 crore.

Since the university’s annual budget is only about one per cent of this building’s cost, there was no earthly reason for getting the plan in the first place.

Seeking a reply to the showcause notice within a week, the chancellor has asked him to refrain from making any new appointment and effecting any fresh promotion or transfer.

The VC has also been asked to furnish details of all payments made by him from now on. Passbooks maintained by the university have also been called for.

Hembrom himself was not available to give his reaction but observers felt that it was his “autocratic style of functioning” that had attracted the action.

The showcause notice also drew attention to the unbridled power enjoyed by vice chancellors.

“A vice-chancellor has immense powers as far as running a university is concerned. Let alone Class III and IV employees, a VC can appoint a lecturer, reader or professor for six months, can transfer any teaching or non teaching employee within the university and has the power to spend the budget approved by the Senate. He has more powers than a chief secretary enjoys, but it does not mean he will make wasteful expenditure,” commented a former vice-chancellor of Ranchi University.

HRD minister Bandhu Tirkey, speaking over phone from New Delhi, pointed out several serious charges against Hembrom.

“No one stopped him from working in an autunomous manner, but it does not mean he will violate rules,” he declared.

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