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Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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MU in dire straits –Part 5: Discrepancies exposed in awarding of publicity and media related works for 105th ISC

IT News

Imphal, Jan 28

It was in the aftermath of the 105th Science Congress held from March 16 to March 20, 2018 , hosted by the Manipur University that allegations about the misappropriation of funds and irregularities in administration of the University affairs has surfaced prompting the University Community to undergo months long protest crippling the function of Manipur University until Manipur High Court appointed an “administrator” and putting VC AP Pandey under suspension, while the allegations were being investigated by a two member independent committee.

The findings of the two member enquiry committee had reportedly been submitted to the MHRD, but neither the report has been made public nor any action has been taken up against VC AP Pandey or the parties involved. Interesting part is that, AP Pandey still enjoys the Vice Chancellor designation along with all the perks even though under suspension and the Administrator appointed by Manipur High Court on interim basis continue to exercise as a full fledged Vice Chancellor for around 1 years and 3 months.

Imphal Times Special investigation team has been unveiling the series of misappropriations and irregularities being carried out at the Manipur University. In this 5th part , Imphal Times reveals on how huge sum of amount for media and publicity matter in connection with the 105th Indian Science Congress held at Manipur University had been misappropriated.

As per the findings of the Imphal Times Special Investigation team, the University invited sealed rate quotations from five firms all based outside Manipur for the production of short films and teasers on February 13, 2018. The University invited only the DAVP empanelled media agencies. At 1.00 pm of the same day Purchase and Works committee of the 105th ISC recommended one Noida based firm M/S E-Media Solutions for execution of the work. The total estimate of the media publicity and film production is Rs. 34,10,420/-.

Further finding revealed that M/S E-Media Solutions is not listed in the official list of empanelled agencies of DAVP website despite their claim. The teaser was supposed to be telecasted in 12 TV Channels from March 13 to 16 , 2018, but records of telecast in only 7 TV channels were available. Details of the amount paid to the 7 TV channels could not be found. 

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Manipur University in dire straits –Part -4: 49 contract staffs appointed at MU during Administrator Jarnail Singh’s era; MU community’s silence over its legitimacy

IT News

Imphal, Jan 27

Can an Administrator appointed by a Court to look after a University on interim basis can exercise the power and function of a full time qualified Vice Chancellor of that University is a question being asked by every citizen. However, in case of Manipur University, where the Manipur High Court made an arrangement to end the long impasse at Manipur University by appointing an ‘Administrator’ on interim basis, who is also not even qualified for the post is exercising the full power conferred to a regular full time Vice Chancellor. What is shocking to the present trend happening in the Manipur University is that all of the University Community, even after knowing that, the ongoing practice in the University may bring an end to the functioning of the Highest Learning Institute of the entire state remains silent.

This is the fourth story that the Imphal Times is exposing on how the Manipur University is going to face serious financial crisis as per the finding by Imphal Times Special Investigation team.

October 11, 2018, Jarnail Singh, an IAS officer,(Retd) , who had year long experience in the administration of Manipur, was appointed as “Administrator” on interim basis by putting VC AP Pandey on suspension, by a division bench of Manipur High Court which comprises of Justice N. Kotiswar and Justice Kh. Nobin.

Soon after Jarnail Singh took charge as Administrator, he appointed 49 (forty nine) contractual staffs in between October 17, 2018 to June 6, 2019. With this appointment total contract staffs reached 270 numbers as per record on June , 2019.

Among the 49 contract staffs stated above, one RK Abena, appointed as Project Officer on contract basis on October 17, 2018 was first paid a sum of Rs. 25,000/- per month at the time of appointment, but her remuneration increased to Rs. 30,000/- per month. The project officer is a post newly created by the MU Administrator appointed by Manipur High Court as an interim arrangement. Remuneration of the two other post appointed during his short period are H. Nelia (Assistant Project Officer) and Ashiikho Ashuli (Progress Assistant). On appointment H. Neliana was paid Rs. 15,000/- but increased to Rs. 18,000/- by an order of the Administrator at the capacity of VC on April 1, 2019, while Ashikho Ashuli whose initial remuneration was 13, 000/- was increased to Rs. 15,600/-. Remuneration of the contract faculties, guest teachers are also paid well so as to silence any possible complaints. Sad portion is that there were no advertisements called for many of the 49 contract staffs at any of the electronic or print media. 

Manipur University after conversion as Central University on 13/10/2005 is being run directly under the grant from the Central Government and UCG. 

On September 19, 2019, the University Grants Commission (UGC) in a notification sent to the Registrar of all Central Universities clearly stated that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India had instructed that all expenditure of Contractual/ Guest Faculty and daily wage / outsource non-teaching staff is to be incurred from recurring head. The MHRD instruction to Central Universities also said that incurring of expenditure for the said contract staffs mentioned above under salary head will be treated as an unapproved expenditure while finalizing the utilization certificate at the end of the year.

So, the expenditure of the 270 contract employees of Manipur University will have to be done from the recurring head.

As per University’s regulations expenditure for procuring of stationery articles required for class room purposed and other computers and machineries including chemicals and science equipments were usually procured from the recurring head.

In 2017-18 , a total of Rs. 31,43,465/- (Rupees Thirty one lakh forty-three thousand four hundred and sixty five)  was procured for academic propose. (This purchase too has been made from a single firm without resorting to Codal formalities). These stationery items are requisite of academic affairs in all the department of the University and need to be purchased at the time of needs.

If this expenditure for contractual staffs is being paid from the recurring head that means it is likely that class rooms of almost all departments may have no fund left for purchasing stationeries and other required materials.

Manipur University today continues to face dark times, with no regular and qualified Vice Chancellor. Meanwhile, AP Pandey still is the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University and is enjoying all facilities that a VC enjoys during suspension period. It is not clear on how the salary or remuneration of the Administrator, Jarnail Singh is being paid as he himself cannot be treated as a regular VC. Silence of the Manipur University community at these dark times may someday lead to extinction of Manipur University.

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The way forward towards civility

Change- an attribute easier to wish than to implement. Desired change- an almost impossible challenge, especially when it relates to humans who are creatures of habit.
Everybody has their own unique perspective of the world which is perhaps the most interesting aspect of human beings. But sometimes, along with these different perspectives rises different conflicts of interest. An ideal society resolves these conflicts for the greater interest and benefit of its members. Our present society, like most others prevailing today, unfortunately is far from perfect, yet we negotiate, bribe or just barge our way through in our daily struggle to survive.
Every so often, individuals with altered mindsets or depraved morals continue to commit acts considered as aberrations, heinous or even bestial in nature. Understandably, the society spontaneously voiced its resentments and anger - demanding, and rightly so, a swift and exemplary justice for the crimes. Whatever be the reason or compulsion that led to these drastic incidents, there obviously is not one single reasoning human who does not condemn these acts. Yet condemning an act for which the perpetrator/s are yet to be identified or apprehended as the case may be, by burning down houses, destroying their properties or directing our ire against another fellow citizen has become the order of the day.
While we should be steadfast and unrelenting in our demand for justice, excessive violence and prolonged acts of destruction of public property which are there for our own benefit and convenience should be curbed. This form of agitation which has been used for a long time, with a quite high level of success, needs to be changed. It is time to bring in a change in our mindset and try out other more subtler yet effective means of protesting against injustice and crime. One of the many ways which, perhaps we should try out is giving a reasonable amount of time for the Government and its concerned authorities to bring out the truth and identify the criminals, and to act accordingly as per the law in such a manner that would deter such acts in future. Failure of these concerned parties to bring results within such time may be countered with social boycott form all sections of the society in unison. Such a move would also enable the police and other concerned agencies to investigate the case in an orderly manner instead of mayhem and disruptions that will hamper the ultimate objective for which everyone is shouting for- to uncover the truth and act on it as per the law.
A cohesive unit- that of the Government, the concerned investigating authority, the security and police, the judiciary and most importantly, the general public, working hand-in-hand would prove more productive and fruitful in bringing out the truth, rather than putting the blame squarely on the Government. Mutual trust, understanding and cooperation, and most important of all, restraint is called for in such circumstances. If each section of the society carries out its part earnestly, there will not be a stronger force. A change in our mindset- a change in our approach and game is all that is called for to set the wheels of change in motion- a change towards a better society and a better life.

Manipur University in Dire Straits (Part -3) Violating Rule 150 & 155 of the GFR, MU procured over 17 lakhs worth equipments

IT News

Imphal, Jan 25

Imphal Times special team while carrying out investigation to what ails in Manipur  University, finds the administrative block as a den of corrupt officials from top to bottom, who don’t have any respect for the law of the land as well as who  considered  the  temple of higher education a gold mine.

More findings by our special team will be made public. In this third publication, Imphal Times is exposing how the authority of the Manipur University Administration unit purchased computer  equipments worth over Rs. 17 lakhs through direct purchase without  invitation of tender,  notification at any of the newspaper. This kind of procurement is a violation of Rule 150 & 155 of the General Finance Rules 2017, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure. 

According to the findings of the Imphal Times Special Investigation team, eight (8)  electronic  equipments worth Rs. 17,01,224/- (seventeen Lakhs one thousand two hundred twenty-four) were directly purchased from a single firm in between May 5, 2016, to August 9, 2016. The firm as per the finding is identified as BB Enterprises, Imphal East.

On May 30, 2016, the Manipur University Authority purchased  three number  of Ricoh Digital Full color Multifunctional Printer Model No. Aficio MP 2001L from the said firm at the cost of Rs. 5,21,325/- (Five Lakhs twenty one thousand three hundred twenty five) . When calculated each printer cost a sum of Rs. 1,73,775/-. Team  Imphal  Times than enquired the rate of the printer at the local market here in Imphal as well as outside the  state  particularly  in New Delhi,  Kolkata  and Bengaluru.  According to the information the market price of the said printer that  they purchase at Rs. 1,73,775/-  cost less than Rs. 55,000/- (Fifty Five thousand).

On July 04, 2016, two numbers of 2 Ton AC 5 star were purchased from the said firm at the cost of Rs. 2,51,788/- (Two lakhs fifty one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight)Another . When enquired about the market price of the said AC, the maximum price does not exceed Rs. 60,000/-(Sixty Thousand). 

On July 21, 2016, one Ricoh Digital Full Color Multifunctional Printer model No.MPC 2011 SP was procured from the same firm, that is BB Enterprises at the cost of Rs. 3,53,630/- (Three Lakhs Fifty three thousand six hundred and thirty). When enquired about the market price, the printer cost less than Rs. 2.5 lakhs. 

On August 6, 2016, another Ricoh Digital Full color Multifunctional Printer Model No. Aficio MP 2001L was purchased from the said firm at the cost of Rs. 2,20,851/-. (Two lakhs twenty thousand eight hundred and fifty one). This same printer when supplied by the same firm BB Enterprises, Imphal East, the price was Rs. 1,73,775/-. This means that the price of the Ricoh Digital Full color Multifunctional Printer Model No. Aficio MP 2001L was increased by Rs. 47,096 in 4 months. 

According to Rule 150 and 155 of the General Finance Rules 2017, Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, Government of India, any such supplies or purchase should be done following due formalities.

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