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Lohia to take up Presi reins on May 2

Anuradha Lohia will take over as the first full-term vice-chancellor of Presidency University on May 2.

The professor of bio-technology at Bose Institute announced the date after meeting governor M.K. Narayanan, the chancellor of the university, on Monday evening.

“The chancellor has requested me to join the university at the earliest. I will join on May 2. The chancellor has welcomed me and he is very pleased that I have accepted the offer,” Lohia said outside Raj Bhavan after the 45-minute meeting with Narayanan.

The chancellor selected Lohia, who had graduated from the erstwhile Presidency College in 1976, as VC on Saturday.

Asked what was the chancellor’s message to her, Lohia said: “He hoped that I could do the best for Presidency. I have given him my word that I will do everything in my power. I will do my best.”

Hours before the meeting, the state government had issued a notification announcing that Lohia would be at the helm of Presidency “for a term of four years from the date of her assuming charge or till she attains the age of 65 or until further order, whichever is earlier”.

On the “until further order” clause, a higher education department official said the West Bengal University Laws (Amendment) Act, 2011, introduced after the Trinamul Congress came to power, states that the chancellor may remove a VC if the incumbent is proved to be guilty of criminal breach of trust, criminal negligence, gross financial irregularity, impropriety or gross negligence of duty. There are also five other grounds based on which such action could be taken.

Before a VC is removed, he or she will have to be served a show-cause notice.

“Lohia is 58 and the ‘until further order’ clause would allow an extension after she completes four years in office,” an education department official said.

The notification also states “this (the notification) cancels this secretariat’s earlier notification” issued on April 10, announcing that physicist Sabyasachi Bhattacharya would take over as full-term VC of Presidency.

Asked about her plans for her alma mater, Lohia said: “I have many plans. The chancellor has asked me to make Presidency the kind of institute we all want it to be.” Within days of joining the university, Lohia will fly to the UK on an academic assignment.

Lohia’s was the second of the three names suggested by a search committee to the governor for appointment to the post of full-term VC of Presidency.

Bhattacharya, the first choice, turned down the offer as the search committee did not take his consent before including his name in the shortlist.

The committee’s third choice was neuro-biologist Sumantra Chattarji.