University Grants Commission (UGC) official: I am feeling unwell… Where can I find a car on hire to visit a physician'
Calcutta University (CU) registrar: I am a senior official and not your servant... Go ask the nodal official.
UGC official: I wasn’t even talking to you directly, I was asking your officials in general... And I am here on work concerning your university.”
CU registrar: Get lost…
This, alleges senior UGC member Chakradhar Sinha, is the war of words that broke out between him and CU registrar Ujjal Basu on Wednesday evening. When contacted, Basu refused to comment. “Why should I tell you'” he demanded.
On Wednesday, the UGC team had toured the CU campuses and is known to have commented on the number of teaching posts that were lying vacant. Insiders said the varsity officials’ argument that the state government was not giving them sufficient funds to fill the vacancies had not convinced the UGC team.
“Humiliated” by the registrar’s outburst at the end of Wednesday’s survey tour, Sinha decided to boycott “all facilities” provided to him by the university and refused to attend Wednesday’s dinner and Thursday’s Darbhanga Hall lunch hosted by CU vice-chancellor Ashis Banerjee in honour of the visiting UGC team. Sinha said he had “reported the matter” to Banerjee and had steered clear of the lunch and dinner “as a mark of protest”.
Sinha narrated on Thursday how he had been “insulted and humiliated” by the registrar: “I was speaking to some other CU officials and inquiring whether I could get a car on hire to visit a physician, as I was feeling a pain in my chest. The registrar, standing nearby, intervened abruptly and told me he was a very senior official and not my servant. He then shouted at me and told me to contact other officers.
“I was stunned because neither was I seeking any favour from him, nor was I talking to him directly. I then told the registrar that I was in Calcutta on work involving his university. On hearing that, he told me to get lost.”
Sinha, who has toured several universities in India and abroad, said he “never expected” such behaviour from “a senior official of such a prestigious university”.
“I have come here on behalf of the UGC and can surely expect minimum respect and cooperation from the university officials,” added Sinha, who was inducted as an expert by UGC chairman A. Nigavekar in the team visiting CU.