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Govt censures Sikkim VC

Gangtok, Sept. 12: The human resources development department has censured the vice-chancellor of Sikkim Central University, Mahendra P. Lama, for his comments on the possibility of re-affiliating the state’s colleges to North Bengal University.

On Tuesday, Lama had reacted sharply to the department’s appeal to NBU — which was later withdrawn — to re-affiliate the colleges. He said the Sikkim university had been kept in the dark about the matter and was “fully prepared” to handle its responsibilities. The colleges became affiliated to the new university in July this year.

Today, the HRDD issued a media release through the state’s information and public relations department, criticising Lama.

“His allegation in The Telegraph, dated September 10, 2008, that right from the beginning the HRDD has never taken the university into confidence or never consulted it on any issue is farthest from the truth,” said the release.

The statement added that Lama was appointed vice-chancellor solely on the basis of a strong recommendation by the state government, “overlooking many senior academicians and intellectuals”.

The release mentions a string of activities carried out by the state government to set up the university. They include everything from land acquisition to the manning of the varsity’s offices.

“As far as consultations with the university is concerned, the secretary and senior officials of the department, on their own initiative, attended three meetings at the vice-chancellor’s office. The HRDD minister also convened a meeting to examine various issues which was attended by the vice-chancellor and his officers,” the release said.

Speaking over the phone from New Delhi, Lama slammed the HRDD release. “They are not aware of how a central university functions. The vice-chancellor is appointed by the President of India based on the recommendations made by a three-member panel of eminent people chosen by the ministry of human resources.”

The vice-chancellor said the release suggested that the HRDD could influence the decision taken by the President of India. “This reflects how ignorant those who issued the release are, especially while undermining the status of a vice-chancellor.”

Lama added: “They have tried to defame Sikkim Central University by writing to the Union ministry of human resources to say that we were not capable (of running the colleges). Then they approached the NBU for re-affiliation and later changed their mind. Now to cover these up, they are undermining the vice-chancellor.”

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