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V-C sets terms to stay on

Guwahati, Sept. 28: Gauhati University vice-chancellor Amarjyoti Choudhury today said he would stay back on the condition that the government communicates in writing a commitment to release Rs 25 crore to the institution within two months.

The announcement came even as Raj Bhavan sent word that Governor Lt Gen. (retd) Ajai Singh would not accept Choudhury’s resignation.

“My resignation was not sudden. I gave a lot of thought to it before sending the letter to the governor. The last 10 months of my tenure as the vice-chancellor of the region’s premier university was an experience of torment. I was feeling suffocated and guilty for not being able to do anything constructive for the university for want of funds. I joined GU with specific plans and dreams. I do not want to spend five years of my tenure merely enjoying luxury and the privileges that the vice-chancellor of a university is entitled to,” he told The Telegraph.

Choudhury made it clear that unless the government responded positively to his conditions, he would not stay on.

Gen. Singh, the chancellor of the university, has convened an emergency session of the executive council at Raj Bhavan on Monday to end the impasse. A Raj Bhavan official said education minister Ripun Bora, chief secretary P.C. Sarma, principal secretary (finance) H.S. Das and the commissioner and secretary of higher education, Alok Kumar, would be invited to share their views on the issue with the executive council.

Protests over Choudhury’s resignation continued on the university campus for the second day. The Postgraduate Students’ Union burned an effigy of the education minister and shouted slogans blaming him for the vice-chancellor’s decision to quit.

An AASU delegation met Choudhury to request him to withdraw the resignation. Sammujjal Bhattacharyya, the organisation’s adviser, said the university could not afford to “lose Choudhury Sir” during such a critical phase of rebuilding the institution.

The AASU demanded a public apology from the education minister for his remark that the vice-chancellor was an “escapist”.

The education minister said the government would initiate more steps to ease the financial crisis in the institution after chief minister Tarun Gogoi returned from the United States in the next couple of days.

In its defence, Dispur released an account of what it claimed were contributions to the development of the university.

The note detailed the government’s actions and the Union human resource development ministry’s response to the application for a Rs 70-crore grant to turn the university into a centre of excellence, the proposal for a Rs 181-crore project to upgrade infrastructure, the Plan allocation for the institution, non-Plan grants and payment of UGC arrears.

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