Seven principals in as many years just about sums up the unstable state of affairs at Baharagora College, about 80km away from the steel city, which caters to 6,000 students from three blocks — Baharagora, Chakulia and Ghurabandha — in the district.
None of those appointed to the top post in the institution has been allowed to stay around long enough to make a difference by local goons, whose activities have gone on unchecked since 2005.
And an early resolution appears unlikely. On Monday, a Kolhan University team comprising registrar K.C. Dey, proctor M.R. Sinha, chief of vocational centre A.K. Upadhyay, university engineer S.K. Verma and head of the chemistry department of Jamshedpur Worker’s College P.V. Tiwary inspected the constituent college to figure out where the problem lay.
“We held meetings with the teachers for three hours but there seems to be no solution to the problem. Let’s see what we can do,” said Dey afterwards.
Problems began after the college introduced a BEd course in 2005-06. The then principal Aditya Misra left in a huff in 2006 and joined Ghatshila College, complaining of disturbances created by locals over admission in the BEd course. Students wanted admission on demand, flaunting dubious merit lists, which the principal could not accept.
Misra was succeeded by Shashi Bhushan Pramanik, who paid with his life. He was murdered in his home in 2009, and the police blamed it on an alleged nexus between the deceased and admission racketeers. Pramanik allegedly granted admission to students using fraudulent means. But, the case remains unsolved till date.
After Pramanik’s death, Sameer Sarkar was appointed in his place. Sarkar, who retired in 2010, was succeeded by S.P. Mandal, who left the college within a year after being assaulted by some students. K.N. Upadhyay was appointed next in March 2011 and he retired in January 2012. Professor B.M. Giri took over in February, only to proceed on indefinite medical leave within one and a half months in the face of student protests, fanned by outside elements.
Faced with no takers for the principal’s post, the university had to wait for five months before it could convince D.R. Kuiri to take up the challenge in August. Kuiri lasted 21 days, handing in his papers last week but has been instructed to remain in office till a replacement is found.
“This has been a major problem as nobody wants to take charge there. How can a college run without a principal? We formed a committee to find out the problem and how it could be solved,” said vice-chancellor of Kolhan University Salil Roy.
Funnily enough, despite repeated trouble on campus, no formal FIR has ever been lodged by the college authorities at the local police station. Informal complaints have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, when the university team visited the campus on Monday, it was accompanied by personnel from Baharagora thana to prevent any “untoward incident.”
In private, faculty members and locals both claimed the main issue was the race for admission in the BEd course. The local mafia wanted to decide who got in, and when principals protested, they faced the consequences. Many were of the opinion that the BEd course should be scrapped.
The college, established in 1969, has only seven teachers taking undergraduate classes against a sanctioned strength of 27. While intermediate teachers appointed by JAC are teaching BSc students, one teacher for commerce and six for arts is the faculty strength.