Prem Poddar, an educationist from the hills who was based in London till now, reached Siliguri on Thursday to take charge as the vice-chancellor of Darjeeling Hills University.
On Friday, he will head forJogighat in Mungpoo, which is around 35km from Darjeeling, to assume charge as the first VC of the DHU, which was set up by the state government.
“He has been put in the VC’s post for three months and will assume the office on Friday,” said a source.
Poddar, who is from Kalimpong, is a senior fellow at the University of Manchester in the UK. He had studied at the North Bengal University and did one of his PhDs at the University of Sussex.
He went to the NBU on Thursday and met vice-chancellor Omprakash Mishra. So far, the VC of the NBU was holding the additional charge as the VC of the DHU.
Mishra, who is a faculty member at Jadavpur University, was appointed as the VC of the NBU just a few days ago. He was appointed for an interim period of two months. Mishra had been earlier put in the same post twice. He left the VC’s office in January after his second tenure ended.
“It is a great pleasure for me to join a university at my own place. There are lots of things to do. I will have to take charge of the history and the files,” said the academic.
He said a registrar and other administrative staff would have to be appointed at the hill varsity.
“I need to meet the coordinators of various programmes which are taught at the varsity and work for the improvement of infrastructure,” he added.
As of now, the DHU is operating out of the ITI building at Mungpoo. In October 2018, a bill to establish the varsity— a longstanding demand of hill residents — was passed in the Assembly. Postgraduate courses in six subjects — English, history, mass communication, mathematics, Nepali and political science — are taught at the varsity.
“The state has approved Rs33 crore for the construction of the varsity building. Construction is already in progress,” said a source in the administration.
Later in the day, Poddar held a meeting with AnitThapa, the chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, and S.Ponnambalam, the district magistrate of Darjeeling, said sources.