Ailing alma mater

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Academics   and  student welfare  seem to be the last priority of the University of Kashmir, obsessed with seminars and whimsical appointments. HAMIDULLAH DAR  reports.

Many ailments plague the highest seat of learning in Kashmir. The unacceptable work culture, contractualism and ungainly endeavours of the authorities have pushed it into a morass where it is unable to produce quality scholars or a profitable research work. It is neither able to keep pace with the present requirements of education dissemination nor consolidate the gains it may have made in the more than fifty years of its existence.

Most of the steps the university has taken in recent times has landed it in more controversy and marred its place

Appointment scandal

Over the last few years most of the new appointments in Kashmir University have been mired in controversies.
Allegations of nepotism, corruption and flouting of rules are being made as some appointments were made without issuing a notification.

The KU appointed around 14 persons for administrative jobs in the south campus. Ten out of them are relatives of university teachers or people in university administration. The university did not bother to even issue the mandatory notification before making the appointments.

However, university authorities say that such recruitments are made for “menial jobs”.

Registrar KU,  Prof. S Fayaz Ahmad says, “Such type of arrangements are made by the director of the campus who keeps the needs in mind while adjusting people for menial jobs (sic) like sweepers, gardeners etc. and when there are posts for regular appointment, we do advertise them as per rules.”

The university authorities, insiders say, give away administrative posts as a dole, such as appointing directors unnecessarily, to ward off criticism. “These unnecessary posts have been created to silence criticism by giving out doles,” says a teacher, wishing not to be named.

The ex-professor adds, “Earlier sanitary inspector would look after the sanitation of university but now there is a director for it and you see university sanitation has not improved. Even for auditorium there is a director.”
The university has also appointed directors for Kargil, Leh and Kupwara campuses, which are yet to come up.

Every director gets an official vehicle and Rs 10,000 to 15,000 a month in addition to his or her salary.

The university squanders money on luxuries as well. VC’s lodge was renovated by spending Rs 1.25 crore with his bathroom alone costing Rs 8 lakh.

The university has also appointed consultants in different departments like Kashmiri and Urdu with fat salaries. “I don’t know what is the need of the consultants when we have full-fledged departments,” said an insider.
And to meet its spendthrift ways university had to raise loans from banks, and doubled or tripled fee for most of its courses.

The university had raised loans for purchasing some land from Hassan Sons. “Now they can’t repay the loan as huge interest has accumulated,” an insider disclosed.

Professor Riyaz Punjabi

State control

The government interference in the matters of the university, insiders say, has rendered an autonomous institution as just another department in the state administration.

“Majority of the members of governing bodies like University Council and Syndicate are state government nominees. Financial officer earlier used to be university’s own but now he is on deputation from the state government,” says an office bearer of Kashmir University Teachers Association.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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