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Camera vigil in Kalyani varsity
CCTV for work watch

Kalyani, Dec. 16: The newly appointed vice-chancellor of Kalyani University has ordered installation of CCTV cameras on the campus to “improve” work culture, saying there was “sheer absence” of it.

According to officials, 126 cameras would be installed at strategic points on the varsity grounds and in the building and footage would be monitored at the central library. In the past two weeks, 15 CCTV cameras have been installed in the administrative building and in the hostel kitchens.

Rattan Lal Hangloo, who joined as vice-chancellor last month, has also issued orders that employees will have to enter the varsity by 10.15am and stay at least till 5.15pm.

A former professor of history at Hyderabad University, Hangloo said he was “disappointed” seeing the huge stack of files in the administrative offices and the untidy hostel kitchens.

The vice-chancellor said: “After joining, I went around the campus, including the administrative building, various departments and hostels. I was disappointed to see the poor state of affairs in the administrative offices. I found heaps of files on tables and the chairs vacant. They were gathering dust. When I toured the hostels, I saw food being cooked in unhygienic conditions.”

According to Hangloo, although Kalyani University had “enough resources and work ability”, there was a “sheer lack of work culture and discipline among a section of the employees”.

“The CCTVs are not only for keeping an eye on the employees but also for security,” the VC added.

The vice-chancellor said he had instructed the officials to speed up work on clearing files, too.

“I have told them that I will not like to see matters pending on tables. I have even asked the section heads to take decisions for which they are empowered. I have introduced a system called PSO — ‘problem-solution-output’ — in which officials will have to send me a weekly report on the work they have done,” the vice-chancellor said.

According to Hangloo, although the academic performance of the varsity was good, it had failed to become a model institution.

The vice-chancellor’s decision was welcomed by both the employees’ union and the teachers.

Pratap Santra, the secretary of the Trinamul-backed Karmachari Sansad, said: “The new VC is trying for overall development of the university. I don’t think the cameras would be installed to monitor employees’ activities. Rather, the step has been taken for comprehensive surveillance, including security. I agree that a section of the employees here needs to pull up their socks. But that is true for most organisations in the country.”

The head of the Bengali department, Prabir Pramanik, said he was “happy” with the move to install the cameras as they would also compel workers in the hostels to keep the kitchens clean.

According to Goutam Pal, the dean of the science faculty, strict monitoring would also prevent costly laboratory equipment and library books from being stolen.

Kalyani University is not the first higher education institution to install CCTV cameras to monitor work of its employees and security.

Top-rung academic institutions such as the IITs and IIMs have round-the-clock camera surveillance.

Burdwan University installed six CCTV cameras in its administrative building a year ago after several incidents of campus violence in 2011 and 2012.

Cameras have also been put up at Visva-Bharati’s Rabindra Bhavana, which houses Tagore’s memorabilia, and his five houses on the campus.

However, Presidency University, Calcutta University and Jadavpur University are yet to take the step.