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MU authority making a mockery of RTI; Prolonged stay of IAS as Vice Chancellor of Manipur University fears financial irregularities

IT News

Imphal, Nov 21

The appointment of former Chief Secretary of Manipur Jarnail Singh as Administrator of the Manipur University seems to bring no change to the financial administration of the Manipur University.  Besides, Manipur University at present being headed by an experience administrator seems to have no regard for the Right to Information Act, 2005. The University authority headed by the former Chief Secretary of Manipur is making a mockery of the RTI Act, 2015 by not giving the right reply but also by providing it after a gap of almost a year which should have been provided within 30 days.

Seityajit, an RTI activist, sought information to the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Manipur University to provide information about expenditures of all kinds, mode of payment and charge of Cultural troupes’ etc. for organizing the 105thIndian Science Congress by the Manipur University on March 23, 2018.

As the MU authority fail to provide the information the RTI activist put up the matter to the Central Information Commission, New Delhi. Hearing of the said case was held today at N.I.C Video Conferencing Studio , District Center Imphal East , DC office complex Porompat through video conferencing.

Of the 12 questions, which the RTI activist wanted to know the University authority replied about the expenditure for Catering service and Accommodation. The reply handed over to the RTI activist, signed by one Sandhyarani Ningthoujam , Finance Officer , MU said that Rs. 5,07,231 was paid for catering service to M/S Babina Health Care & Hospitality Pvt. Ltd. on January 30, 2019.

For accommodation to the delegates of the 105 Since Congress a sum of Rs. 53,77,945 has been paid to M/S Gazal Caterers Faridabad  on 19-03-2019.

The reply is also confusing as payment for accommodation is made to a caterer.

The 105 Science Congress was hosted by the Manipur university and inaugurated on  March 17, 2018 and concluded on March 20, 2018.

October 12, 2018, Former Chief Secretary of the government of Manipur Jarnail Singh joined the Manipur University as administrator to discharge the functions of the Vice Chancellor of Manipur University on interim basis as per the ruling of a division of bench of Manipur High Court head be Justice N. Kotishwar and Kh Nobin Singh.

The ruling of the Manipur High court was considered as a means to correct the wrong that had been happening in the central varsity in the wake of the prolonged protest from the University community for replacement of the then VC AP Pandey. The day the Manipur High Court announced its verdict was assumed a sign of relief with hopes that academic atmosphere in the University in particular and the colleges affiliated to the university in general will resume.

Today, November 21 of 2019, Jarnail Singh is still the administrator of Manipur University. By virtue of the UGC regulation Jarnail Singh was only arranged for a limited period on interim basis, but the one time Chief Secretary of the state who knows the pulse of the people of the state is creating history by becoming the longest serving administrator who discharge the functions of the Vice Chancellor in Manipur University.

And not to be surprised, engagement of contractual staffs and guest faculty among others during the tenure of Jarnail Singh is reported to be even more than the period of Prof AP Pandey. And as per report reaching at the Imphal Times desk, culture of bureaucracy has been introduced in the Manipur University and an MFS officer in charge of Finance reportedly treated some professor holding the post of the Head of Department are sometime humiliated.

In August 20, 2019, news paper reported that a sum of rupees one crore (Rs. 1 Crore) was borrowed from the State Bank of India and the amount transferred to the University bank account at Bank of Baroda has been sanctioned for utilization by the Administrator on August 8, 2018. The sum of rupees one crore is being borrowed on the ground that the amount will be reimbursed after UGC releases fund for the University, base on a reliable source hinting probable financial crisis.  The sanction amount for utilization was carried out without getting any approval from any University Authority, the source added saying that University may face another deep financial crisis as the money for development of MU is feared spent during his stay.  

As per another source with the Imphal Times, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in a communication to the Registrars of all Central University in the country has directed to incur expenditure for contractual /Guest faculty and daily wage/ contractual/ outsource non-teaching staff from the non-recurring head .The  HRD communication also stated that incurring of expenditure for the above mention staffs under the Salary head is violation of the instruction of MHRD, Government of India. The NHRD had stated that if fail to follow the instruction, the expenses will be treated as unapproved expenditure while finalizing the utilization certificate at the end of the year.

  • Picture Credit: File Photo
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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