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Biometric diktat for lax varsities

Ranchi, Feb. 26: Governor Syed Ahmed has sought to infuse fresh life into the floundering universities of Jharkhand by directing vice chancellors to tighten administrative measures and fill up teacher vacancies at the earliest.

During a review meeting today, Ahmed set a month’s deadline for all state universities to install biometric systems (retina scan/fingerprint) to ensure regular and timely attendance of teachers and other employees.

On vacancies, the governor asked all VCs to initiate steps to recruit teachers and principals at the earliest, apart from ensuring pending promotions as per norms.

He also asked universities to start within a month due processes to fill vacant posts of class III and IV employees and form various regulation committees as mandated by the University Act.

Today’s meeting was held at Raj Bhavan and was attended by senior officials of the state and all vice chancellors, namely L.N. Bhagat (Ranchi University), Firoz Ahmad (Nilamber Pitamber University) S.K. Roy (Kolhan University), M. Basheer Ahmed Khan (Sidhu-Kanhu Murmu), M.P. Pandey (Birsa Agricultural University) and Ravindra Nath Bhagat (Vinoba Bhave University).

Two universities — Kolhan and Ranchi — have already taken steps to install biometric devices. RU registrar A.K. Choudhary said a few devices were in the process of being installed in some select areas.

“Initially, the devices are being set up in the administrative building after which we will add it to all the other post-graduate and allied departments. The work is being undertaken on priority We will begin the new attendance system from March 1, at least at our administrative building,” he said.

Kolhan, too, is known to have installed biometric systems in some of its colleges. Vice chancellor S.K. Roy couldn’t be reached. However, an official said that some colleges in Jamshedpur already boast biometric devices.

On improving the academic atmosphere, the governor directed all universities to submit detailed reports on the new academic calendar, exam schedules and other such necessary information within a week. He also asked vice chancellors to strictly follow UGC guidelines on campus safety and academic calender that includes timely declaration of exam results and delivery of marksheets and certificates.

On finances, he wanted all universities and constituent colleges to have their accounts audited by the accountant general’s office. “Mere internal audits will not suffice,” he said.

During the deliberations, the governor was highly critical of complete lack of coordination between officials of the state HRD department and various universities. He also pulled up HRD officials for not attending university meetings.

“It is painful that neither the HRD officials attend meetings called by the universities nor do they hold review meetings. Consequently, the problems being faced by the universities are not being solved on time and the students become the victims. Both university and HRD officials ought to shoulder their responsibilities honestly. If things don’t improve, I will be forced to take action,” Ahmed said.

Nilamber Pitamber University’s vice chancellor Firoz Ahmad welcomed the governor’s review, saying it injected a fresh dose of hope for higher education in the state.

Specifically, action was taken to transfer previously identified land in Palamau’s Pikulia to the university that does not have a permanent campus.

“The chancellor directed officials to immediately transfer around 15 acres to the varsity in the first phase. In second phase, another 7 acres will be acquired and handed over to us,” he said.

Others present included adviser K. Vijay Kumar, principal secretary to governor N. N. Sinha, agriculture secretary A.K. Singh, welfare secretary L. Khiangte, HRD secretary D.K. Tiwary and development commissioner Debesh Gupta.


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