GTU drew up warning notices in September after 400-odd colleges were found short of teaching and technical staff. However, varsity officials have found no time in 4 months to sign and dispatch them. Thousands of students saw a ray of hope when Gujarat Technological University (GTU) last June realised that several of its affiliated colleges were found short, not just on teaching staff but also technicians like welders and foundry operators. They thought their sufferings were over when GTU asked colleges to submit details of staff and infrastructure, and then sent out teams armed with cameras to verify the data. Little do the students, who are waiting for GTU to act as a sledgehammer. The blunder, affecting more than 1.5 lakh students, came to light when this Mirror correspondent filed an RTI application, seeking details of the notices that were supposed to be issued in September 2011.
The notices were to be sent to over 400 institutes of engineering, pharmacy, Mechanical Engineering, M.Pharma, MBA and MCA, ordering them to meet criteria of infrastructure and staff within a given time frame or face withdrawal of affiliation. That the colleges were facing shortage first came to light early last year when GTU asked them to upload staff details on the university's website. GTU got the colleges to submit the details in a 20-page form and then sent teams to all 498 colleges to verify these details. “The only thing we can do as an university is to be a sledgehammer. We can threaten colleges that they should recruit or we withdraw their affiliation”, GTU Vice Chancellor Akshai Aggrawal had said last June. Unfortunately, the blow never descended as the concerned authorities had allegedly kept the VC in the dark.
The 20-page form sought details about the institutes building, area of construction, number of students, laboratories and libraries, books, journals, hostel facilities and other parameters. It was found that several colleges lacked basic requirements in terms of faculty and supporting staff, buildings and other resources. Some colleges, despite non-availability of practical labs, were found giving marks to students in practical examinations. The inspection ended in mid-September. As per the VCs claims, the notices were issued by the end of September. In an RTI application filed on November 28th, 2011, this correspondent sought details of errant colleges and the time frame allotted for them to augment the facilities. In response, on December 24th, 2011. RTI officer and GTU in-charge registrar G P Vadodaria wrote that “the local academic inspection teams were still to visit the colleges following which notices will be issued”. When the VC was informed about the reply, he asked Administrative Officer Ujjaval Y Nanavati to provide complete details.
Nanavati continued to dilly-dally on the issue for about a month. Finally, on January 23rd, 212, he admitted that the notices had still not been issued. The explanation he offered: In-charge Registrar Vadodaria could not find time to sign the notices. Vadodaria, on his part, claimed he was never apprised that his signatures were required. When contacted, the VC first refused to believe the notices were yet to be issued. After having a talk with the concerned officials, he claimed he had been kept in the dark about the issue. This is shocking. “I have nothing to say at this point of time. I have directed that the notices be sent to colleges before January 31th, 2012, said: Aggrawal, who according to sources, has sought an explanation from Nanavati and Vadodaria.
“The issue, however, is likely to snowball into a major controversy with student leaders seeking a high-level probe and action against officials. This is negligence and a deliberate attempt to protect the colleges. A high-level probe should be initiated into the matter and strict action must be taken against the guilty”, said Bhavin Rathod, a student leader.
Courtesy: Times of India