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Row over PG council appointment at Utkal

Bhubaneswar, July 22: The appointment of a new chairman for the postgraduation council of Utkal University has sparked off a controversy.

J.K. Panda, the varsity's senior-most professor, has challenged the appointment. He has accused the authorities of ignoring the gradation list and appointing someone junior to them. While Panda's name in the 16th position in the gradation list, the new appointee R.K. Bal's name comes in the 19th position.

Saying that the appointment is "against the statute of the varsity," Panda, who is a professor in the MBA department, submitted a petition to the vice-chancellor and the chancellor seeking he be given Bal's job.

"I have been working in this varsity for so many years and had dreams of doing my bit if appointed to the position of a PG council chairman. But I was ignored and insulted by the authorities. They appointed another person in place of me," said Panda, who is set to retire in another six months.

"The appointment of chairman should be done according to the Odisha University's first statute of 1990 (amended in 2012). Earlier, a communication from the chancellor's office had clarified that although the statue states that the chairman must be appointed for a period of two academic years, it does not mean that professors with less than two years of service should not be appointed. It means the term should not exceed two years," said Panda.

The said provision states that the vice-chancellor shall appoint the chairman of the PG council from among the professors on seniority-cum-rotation basis," Panda said in his petition to the vice-chancellor. Panda has also communicated his grievance to the governor and varsity chancellor S.C. Jmair and is waiting for a response.

Vice-chancellor Ashok Das said it would be inappropriate to comment as the case was in the chancellor's office.

"A chairman's post is very much linked to the administration and anomalies in it might throw the system in disarray. The chancellor's office should not delay in taking a decision in this regard and implement it as soon as possible," said a senior professor of the varsity.

Interestingly, in 2014, Panda was appointed as the PG council chairman overlooking another senior. The appointment was challenged by some professors and subsequently cancelled. During the period, Panda held office for about two months.

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