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VC of Gour Banga University resigns
- Gopa Dutta quits after government replaces executive committee of the Left era

Malda, March 7: The vice-chancellor of Gour Banga University, Gopa Dutta, has resigned from her post days after the Mamata Banerjee government dissolved the executive committee (EC) of the varsity that was formed during the Left Front rule and nominated a new body in its place.

Dutta’s departure has been welcomed by the anti-Left teachers’ associations, which alleged that the VC had done “irreparable” harm to the institution.

The VC has sent her resignation to the governor, asking to be relieved from her post because of “ill health.” The resignation is yet to be accepted.

Asked if the formation of the new executive committee on February 23 had prompted her resignation, Dutta denied it. “I am not keeping well. There is no other reason,” she said here today.

The EC is the highest decision-making body of the university to be chaired by the VC. The VC is bound to pass decisions taken by the EC even if they are not agreed to by the chair.

“I had taken charge on June 9, 2009. At that time, there was no university campus or buildings. Classes were held in rented houses. Today things are vastly improved. The university has its own building and we have 18 courses running. Teaching and non-teaching staff are being appointed and there will be more improvement in the future,” Dutta said.

The university, the second in the region after North Bengal University, was established in 2007 and began functioning from the next year. It has 33 colleges spread in the three districts of Malda and North and South Dinajpurs. Dutta is the second VC of Gour Banga, the first being Surabhi Banerjee.

The VC said the state government had sanctioned Rs 83 crore for development of the university and Rs 7 crore of that amount arrived on Tuesday. “The money will be spent to construct a library building and the arts faculty,” she said.

The VC’s claim about the achievements during her tenure has been rubbished by Dilip Debnath, the secretary of the Trinamul-dominated Gour Banga Adhyapak Mancha. “The harm that she has done cannot be rectified. We are happy to see her go, the sooner she leaves the better for the university,” said Debnath, a chemistry teacher in Malda College.

The Gour Banga Siksha Unnayan Manch, another, anti-Left teachers’ body, almost echoed him

“For quite some time, we had been demanding the re-constitution of the executive council and the removal of the vice-chancellor. The first demand has been met and after the formation of the new executive committee, the VC expressed her desire to step down on her own. If she had not done it, we would have compelled her to do so. She has flouted rules to fill up crucial posts like inspector of colleges and finance officer. There have been widespread irregularities in the appointment of teachers. The vice-chancellor now wants to leave before all this is revealed,” said the Mancha secretary Naresh Roy, a Sanskrit teacher of Malda College.

The secretary of the Chhatra Parishad unit of the university, Babul Sheikh, also attacked the VC for not having put in place important committees of the university. “The university statute has not been drawn up, there is no committee to screen PhD applicants and she has been spending money without forming any finance committee,” Sheikh said.Dutta dismissed the charges as “baseless.”

But some teachers have pointed out that Dutta’s departure would not be good for the future of the university. “She is a highly qualified person and her departure would be a loss for the university. The university has been developed largely because of Gopa Dutta’s initiative,” said Bikash Roy, the head of the Bengali department at the university.

Another teacher, on condition of anonymity, said that ever since the new government came to power Dutta had been facing rude behaviour from a section of teachers and non-teaching staff, who came to submit memorandums to her. “She had to hear abusive language and this could also be one of the reasons why she wants to leave. She had also complained to the education minister, Bratya Basu, about these incidents,” the teacher said.

Asked if she was harassed and whether she had complained to the minister, Dutta said: “I have to send reports to the minister on whatever happens on the campus. I have done so, after all the minister is our guardian.”