Women research scholars of Ranchi University have decided to approach governor Syed Ahmed after their complaints regarding non-availability of grants and misconduct of a section of the university staff did not yield any result.
The university’s women’s grievance redressal cell has received as many as 12 complaints of harassment since its inception in January this year from research scholars belonging to the minority community and reserved categories. While most of the complaints pertained to non-availability of research grants and lack of co-operation from fourth-grade staff of the university, some were allegations of molestation attempts.
Notably, two or three students of Hindi, psychology, sociology and history, belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) or the minority community, are entitled to grants for undertaking two-year research projects.
While the SC/ST candidates are to receive a one-time grant of Rs 16,000 from the UGC under Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship, minority students were entitled to the same amount of grant but under the aegis of Maulana Azad National Fellowship.
UGC has introduced a system of transferring research grants directly into the accounts of scholars to eliminate delays. But that system is yet to be implemented at Ranchi University.
The university is continuing with the old system of transferring the funds to scholars’ bank accounts after it receives them. But, often this led to delays and opened up opportunities for foul play.
“The fourth-grade employees, who are responsible for handling the files and providing details of funds, are delaying the matter by making excuses,” rued a research scholar from the department of sociology.
Others alleged that they faced sexual harassment on approaching the staff for information regarding funds. “Mera haath pakad liya tha aur bola kal aana (He got hold of my hand and asked me to come the next day),” a research scholar from the department of political science said.
“Ye log bolte hain file kahi rakha gaya hain. Koi paisa nahi ayaa hain. (They say the file is stuck somewhere and no money had come),” she added.
Others have also alleged that fourth-grade employees often sought bribes to ensure that the funds got deposited in their accounts.
Vice chancellor L.N. Bhagat, when apprised of the matter, had promised the students that the funds would be released soon. However, nothing has materialised.
“We are unable to start our research work due to lack of funds. The higher authorities do not give satisfactory replies to our inquiries,” a research scholar complained.
Therefore, the women’s cell has now decided to approach the governor. “I have asked the students to submit written complaints. We will approach the governor so that the problems are sorted out and they can get cracking on their research at the earliest,” said Renu Dewan, member secretary of the cell.