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Financial irregularities in NU: Report
Published on 6 Nov. 2008 12:19 AM IST
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A central inquiry has found Nagaland University guilty of financial irregularities and negligence, setting the stage for action against its top officials and triggering introspection on Delhi’s policy of showering the Northeast with apex educational institutions. According to The Telegraph, Union education minister Arjun Singh has put his seal of approval on the fact-finding committee’s report, top government officials said. The human resource development ministry now plans to approach President Pratibha Patil, the Visitor to Nagaland University, for disciplinary action against university officials named in the report, possibly as early as next week, an official from the department of higher education said. Nagaland University vice-chancellor K. Kannan, registrar T. Vihienuo and controller of examinations Tongpang Ao have been named in the report, he added. “The central fact-finding committee has largely corroborated charges levelled by the Nagaland University Teacher’s Association earlier this year. We are ready to press ahead with action against the accused,” he added. Kannan is the second vice-chancellor at the university to be embroiled in allegations of corruption. His predecessor G.D. Sharma had left amid a battery of such allegations. Speaking to The Telegraph from Kohima, Kannan called the allegations against him a conspiracy by “those who want to run a parallel administration.” The report details how Rs 43 crore from an allocated amount of Rs 45 crore was allegedly spent on building infrastructure on campuses that lack proper approach routes, rendering the construction largely useless. It questions why Kannan, as the vice-chancellor, did not intervene to ensure proper use of the funds. As Visitor, Patil has the final say on any action to be taken based on the report. Sources said the President is expected to endorse strong punishment against the offenders as the inquiry was set up under her order. The HRD ministry was initially not keen on investigating the allegations. HRD ministry officials said the controversy surrounding Nagaland University was a pointer to an increasingly generic pattern involving universities in the Northeast — an absence of Delhi’s writ over them. Some officials at Manipur University, for instance, face allegations of funnelling money meant for laboratory equipment to militant outfits in that state, an HRD ministry source said. “The truth is that managing a central university in the Northeast, especially in states like Nagaland and Manipur, is extremely hard. The Centre started new universities in troubled areas like the Northeast too hurriedly,” an official said, arguing for a “gradual approach” to setting up central institutions in such areas. “Simply, our policy was: start a slew of institutes in the Northeast and then let them handle it. That may need a re-look,” another official said. Unlike other parts of the country, each northeastern state today has a central university. Sikkim University was created last year. The Rajiv Gandhi University in Itanagar and Tripura University in Agartala were also converted into central universities last year. The Centre took over Manipur University in 2005, while Mizoram University was set up as a central university in 2000. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised Assam a “world-class university” and IIM Shillong started classes this year.

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