The selection process of new Vice Chancellors (VC) for the Universities for which the government constituted separate search committees, has been unable to make any headway despite term of two VCs coming to end in coming weeks.
The government has constituted a search committee for appointment of a new VC for Sheri Kashmir University of Agricultural Science and Technology (SKUAST)-Kashmir in the first week of July. Despite the passage of over two months, no advertisement has been issued for submission of application of eligible candidates for the post of new VC of the University.
The delay in issuing the notification has raised questions over the constitution and working of the selection committee as the tenure of the incumbent VC SKUAST-K will expire by the end of this month.
As per an order issued by Principal Secretary Agriculture Production department, Navin Kumar Choudhary, the search committee is headed by Financial Commissioner Finance, Arun Kumar Mehta while other members include Director General (DG) Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR); Chairman UGC or his nominee, VC SKUAST, Jammu, Dr JP Sharma and nominee of the Chancellor of the University.
The Teachers and Scientists Association of the university have already staged a symbolic protest over the delay in selection of the new VC for the university.
"Notification for inviting the applications is already overdue. If the new VC is not appointed timely, it is presumed that the government may temporarily appoint some in-charge VC for the varsity which will not be in the interest of the institution," the spokesperson of the association said.
He said the appointment of an in-charge VC for the university may promote nepotism and mar academic and research developments of the varsity.
"Anyone who is appointed as in-charge VC for the institution doesn't work with long term goals," the professor said.
Principal Secretary Agriculture Production, Navin Kumar Choudhary said a search committee was already constituted for the appointment of new VC. "I am not the convener of the search committee, we constituted the committee and it is the job of the chairman of the committee to issue the notification," he said.
However, chairman of the search committee Arun Kumar Mehta did not respond to calls from this newspaper despite repeated attempts.
Meanwhile, the search committee constituted for the selection of new VC for Cluster University Srinagar (CUS) has also not shown any headway despite holding interactions with the shortlisted candidates a month ago.
The committee is headed by Director Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Jammu Prof Bidya Shankar Sahay. VC Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) Mushtaq A Sidique and VC, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University SMVDU), Prof Ravinder Kumar Sinha are the other two members.
The selection of the new VC for CUS had come under question after no candidate from Kashmir University (KU) was shortlisted for interactions with the search committee.
"After holding interactions with shortlisted candidates a month ago, the committee should have forwarded a panel of candidates to the Chancellor for appointment of a new VC. But there seems to be no progress in it," a professor at CUS said.
The selection of new VC for Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU), Rajouri has also not been completed despite the term of incumbent VC ending by the end of this month. The four member search committee is headed by Vice Chancellor (VC) Kashmir University (KU) Prof Talat Ahmad.
A member of the search committee said they have already convened two meetings in the past and a third meeting will be held in the coming days.
"It will take around two weeks more and a panel of three candidates will be submitted to the Chancellor of the University to select a new VC for BGSBU," he said.