Locked V-C office greets Governor at Calcutta University

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Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar at Calcutta University on Wednesday. (Express photo)

In his capacity as Chancellor of Calcutta University, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Wednesday visited its College Street campus only to find that senior officials, including Vice-Chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee, were absent.

“I had sent a message to the V-C that I am coming to the campus at 2 pm and will visit the library. A regular message was also dispatched. When I came here, you have seen, there was no one to receive me. Their mobile phones became unreachable and landlines were not functional. All of us who want to do their duty cannot be deterred by this,” Dhankhar, who was made to sit in a room used by the university staff members, told mediapersons.

“If I am wrong, hang me. But when I reached, there was no one to receive me. I don’t like to be received but I have to protect an office. Still, I chose to come upstairs and found that the rooms of the V-C office were locked. I asked where are the keys and has the vice-chancellor taken the keys with her? There was no answer from the staff,” he added.
Reiterating that there was a “policy paralysis” in the education system of West Bengal, Dhankhar appealed the Trinamool Congress government in the state to not politicise institutions.

“Where are we heading to? There is already a policy paralysis so far as the core education sector is concerned. All my communication to improve goes to one place — a black hole. I, with folded hands, appeal to the (state) government to not politicise universities. For heaven’s sake, don’t play havoc with education. Our universities have to be the temple of justice. Allow the vice-chancellor to act according to the law. You have some role, I have some role. Our roles are defined, let us not step into each other’s shoes. If the government has some role, I, as the Chancellor has some role, we must play it for the welfare of the university,” the Governor added.

Vice-Chancellor Chakravarti Banerjee was, however, not available for comment.

The Governor’s visit came a day after a Senate meeting of the university was called off. “On November 28, a request was made to me to attend a meeting of 102-member Senate at the Calcutta University. I thought it will be a great occasion for me to interact with the people keenly connected with the university, its staff and students. But my office was surprised yesterday, that due to unavoidable reasons, the meeting was called off. I found it amusing and unusual. I immediately directed my office to direct the V-C and the Registrar to see me on an urgent basis because it was a matter of critical consequences,” added Dhankhar, who was greeted by students carrying placards, demanding quick appointment on compassionate ground, removal of anomalies in the promotion and saving the university’s autonomy.

It was a déjà vu moment for the Governor who had faced a similar situation when he had visited Siliguri some months ago as senior district administration officials had skipped the meeting. After Dhankhar visited south Bengal districts in the wake of Cyclone Bulbul, there too senior administrative officials gave his meeting a miss.

Meanwhile, the Calcutta University Teachers’ Association (CUTA) said whatever be the reason behind the visit of the governor to the university, the governor should have been given respect as he is also the Chancellor. “The Governor does not visit the university regularly. Hence not showing due respect to him does not augur well with the image and stature of an institution like the Calcutta University,” CUTA General Secretary Parthibo Basu said in a statement.
With PTI Inputs