The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Consent crisis hits colleges

Calcutta, Jan. 31: The government’s instruction to state-aided undergraduate colleges to seek the backward class welfare department’s approval for appointing teachers — in the general category or a reserved one — has stalled the process of filling up over 350 vacant lecturers’ posts.

The colleges where the posts are lying vacant had applied to the department for approval early last year.

Officials in the West Bengal College Service Commission, which conducts the state level eligibility test (SLET) for recruiting teachers to over 360 state-aided colleges across Bengal, said today that though an adequate number of candidates had passed the 2003 SLET, many of them were waiting for their appointment letters as the department is yet to give its nod.

A bulk of these 350 posts belong to the general category and sources said academic activities in the institutions where the posts are lying vacant are being badly hampered.

The sources added that whenever a teaching post in any of the 340 undergraduate colleges falls vacant, the authorities of the respective colleges have to write to the backward class welfare department for clearance to fill the vacancy.

“The panel of teachers who have qualified in the 2003 SLET examinations is sufficient to fill all the 350 vacancies in the general category posts of lecturers. But, according to the rules followed by the government at present, we need to get a clearance from the backward class welfare department confirming the status of the post (whether it is general category or a reserved one for the backward class),” commission chairman A.K. Banik said.

Government officials, however, said the decision to make it compulsory for colleges to get the clearance was taken following a request from the commission.

This was made mandatory last year after it was detected that many colleges across the state were seeking candidates from the general category to fill up vacant posts that were reserved for backward classes.

“A few hundred backward class posts were converted to general category without the permission of the government during the past few years. The posts were converted in gross violation of the reservation act. As a result, many deserving candidates among SC/ST categories and Other Backward Classes were deprived,” said P.N. Samaddar, assistant commissioner in the backward class welfare department.

“We will now conduct a thorough inspection before confirming the status of the posts,” he added.

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