Education minister Bratya Basu, who had expressed his inability to attend Presidency University’s first convocation, said on Tuesday that he would be at the August 22 event.
“I’ll be there,” said Basu, an alumnus of the erstwhile Presidency College.
“The minister has said he has managed to reschedule his commitments. The university will be honoured to have him as the guest of honour,” said vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar.
The university had requested Basu to be the guest of honour at the convocation, but following his refusal, decided that his name would not be printed on the invitation card.
“Preparations for the convocation started in full swing last week. Printing of the invitation cards will start this week. Now that he has confirmed his presence, his name would be included in the list of invitees,” said a university official.
After the cards are printed, one will be sent to Bikash Bhavan formally inviting Basu.
Vice-chancellor Sarkar had informally requested Basu to be the guest of honour when she met him at Bikash Bhavan, the education department headquarters, on July 25.
Sources in the education department said the minister later called up the VC, expressing his inability to attend the event.
“The minister contacted the VC again last week and said he was trying to reschedule his engagements and might attend the convocation. He later confirmed that he would come,” said the official.
Many saw in Basu’s initial refusal to skip the convocation an attempt to avoid sharing the dais with Sarkar following the controversy resulting from the government’s flip-flop over her tenure.
The government had first informed Sarkar that her tenure would end on August 14, the day she turns 65, and a search committee had been set up to look for her successor.
Governor M.K. Narayanan sought several clarifications from the government over the move, which was followed by an announcement that Sarkar’s term had been extended by six months from August 15 or till the appointment of her successor, “whichever is earlier”.
Train service hit
Train services on the Sealdah Main line were disrupted for over half an hour on Tuesday after a Shantipur local headed towards Sealdah got stuck at Shyamnagar station at 9.30am.
Officials said a problem in the engine caused the train to remain halted on platform 2 for half an hour, during which the other trains had to be diverted. Services resumed after engineers fixed the snag and the train proceeded towards Sealdah after 10am.