SKUAST-K overrules CM’s directive
Issues Fresh Memo To Shift Faculty Of Forestry; Have Asked Varsity To Reconsider Decision: Minister
Srinagar, July 10: Anarchy just seems to be deepening at the SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Kashmir, with varsity officials now openly overruling the Chief Minister’s directive on the establishment of the Faculty of Forestry.
Official documents with Greater Kashmir reveal that the Chief Minister’s office had on June 29 shot a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Tej Pratap, on the issue. “A delegation of the Faculty of Forest Sciences of SKUAST-K approached the Hon’ble Chief Minister at his private office during public hearing held on June 29, 2011 with a representation. The Chief Minister after giving a patient hearing to the delegation observed that it had been decided that this course would be started in Ganderbal (Benihama),” the letter (No: 7430 ) from the CM’s Private Office reads.
It had asked the Vice-Chancellor to “please examine this and discuss it with me.”
But the Dean at the Faculty of Forestry has shot off a memo on July 7 on consolidation of the Faculty at Wadoora, Sopore. “All faculty members/non-teaching staff borne on the establishment of Faculty of Forestry, SKUAST-K, Camp: Shalimar and ongoing PG students (Forestry) community are hereby informed that the Faculty will be consolidated at Wadura-Sopore from 3rd week of July 2011 till the infrastructural facilities are created and completed at Benihama Ganderbal,” the memo No: AU/FOF/Shifting-FOF-Wadura/2011/771-805, reads.
It adds: “Ongoing research of PG students in the field will not be shifted for the time being, however, students who have not laid their experiments shall lay them at Wadura. All old course minors will also be offered at Wadura.”
The memo, however, has invited severe criticism, primarily in the backdrop of the Chief Minister’s directive and the Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir’s assurance in the Legislative Assembly that the Faculty will be established at Benihama only.
“If the Faculty, as per the rules and approval of different salutatory bodies, is supposed to be established at Benihama, what is the fun of consolidating it at Sopore? It will have severe fallout on academics and research of the Faculty,” said sources in SKUAST-K. “Students registered for Ph.D and M.Sc programmes are running their experimental trials at Shalimar. How is it possible for them to be taught at Sopore and simultaneously take care of their research at Shalimar campus?”
The memo has raised a fundamental question as to whether the Dean of the Faculty, Dr Nazir A Masoodi, is authorized to issue such an administrative order. “In the memo, the Dean has argued that they are shifting till infrastructure is created at Benihama campus. If they intend to create infrastructure for the Faculty at Benihama, then it is better to maintain status quo till this infrastructure comes up. Why destabilize the entire faculty and students unnecessarily?” asked a former SKUAST official, wishing anonymity. “There are some permanent trials which students and researchers have laid on the campus. How are they going to monitor it from Sopore?”
Interestingly, just few days before the CM office intervened in the issue, the HOD Forestry has shot off a letter to the Dean of the Faculty. “The renovation/face uplift of all the 14 rooms under the occupation of the Department of Forestry is about to be completed within a couple of days. You are as such requested to initiate the process of shifting to Wadoora campus of SKUAST-K to avoid further delay as the time left for registration of Autumn semester is very short,” the letter No. FOA/for/2011-12/85-87 Dated: 27-06-2011, reads.
The earlier shifting, the letter reads, would ensure smooth registration of UG and PG students of this Faculty—something which the Chief Minister had directed to start from Benihama.
BENIHAMA IS THE SITE: MINISTER
When contacted the Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Hassan Mir, said the faculty members met him on the issue. “I have asked the vice-chancellor to reconsider the memo,” he told Greater Kashmir this afternoon.
Mir said the Government has already acquired land at Benihama and the Faculty will be established there.
REGISTRAR SUPPORTS GOVT VIEW
When contacted, the SKUAST-K Registrar, Dr FA Zaki said the Faculty of Forestry shall be established at Benihama only. “That is our official version on the issue,” he told Greater Kashmir.
Asked about the fresh memo, he said, “I don’t know what kind of a memo is this. It might be some kind of an internal arrangement which will have to be looked into before commenting.”
He said construction work for the Faculty has already started in Benihama. “You can visit the site and see for yourself,” he said.
The issue of shifting the Faculty had triggered a major controversy at the SKUAST-K in January this year when the varsity authorities initiated the process to reverse its decision of establishing the Faculty of Forestry at Benihama Ganderbal, drawing flak from academics and students who describes the move as ‘unwarranted.’
On December 22 past year, the vice-chancellor’s office issued a memo seeking location of the faculty of Forestry at Wadura in north Kashmir as against Benihama.
It mentioned that the location at Benihama Ganderbal—incidentally the constituency of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah—will form an ‘experimental station’ for the Faculty of Forestry.
But the Minister had said that there is a resolution passed by the University Council three years back which says that the Faculty of Forestry would be established in Benihama. “So how can it be shifted?” Ghulam Hassan Mir had then said.
The process to establish a full-fledged FoF campus started in 2001. The matter was taken up in the then University Council which rejected it because there was no land available for its establishment. The SKUAST itself had very limited land. But it tried again and was able to get a piece of land at Benihama. After hectic struggle, it got the matter ratified by the statutory bodies like Academic Council, Board of Management and finally the University Council headed by the Chancellor, who is the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Then all the necessary formalities for transfer of land were completed including the consent of the people, the local Member of Legislative Assembly and Minister and then the land was formally transferred.
On February 27 (2007), the state government transferred 1001 kanals and 04 marlas of land to the SKUAST-K for establishment of the FoF at Benihama vide Govt Order No. Rev (S) 72 of 2007.
Thereafter, the University Council at its 16th meeting on March 29, 2007 at Raj Bhawan Jammu gave sanction for establishment of the FoF at Benihama vide order No. 618 (Est) of 2007 dated 3.9.2007
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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