Education|8 months on, VC SKUAST-K's appointment awaited

Despite the passage of over eight months, there has been no headway in the appointment of the new Vice Chancellor (VC) of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST)-Kashmir.

The appointment of the new VC of SKUAST-K is awaited for the past eight months.

Principal Secretary Agriculture Production, Navin Kumar Choudhary appointed a search committee in the first week of July last year to draw a panel of names for appointment to the post of VC SKUAST-K.

“More than eight months have passed since the committee was constituted but the government is yet to finalise the appointment of a permanent VC for the university,” a senior official at SKUAST-K said.

The search committee is headed by Financial Commissioner Arun Kumar Mehta while other members include Director General (DG) Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR); Chairman UGC or his nominee, VC SKUAST, Jammu J P Sharma and nominee of the chancellor of the university.

Three months after the constitution of the search committee, the agriculture production and farmers welfare department in October last year issued a notification inviting applications for the appointment of a new VC for the university.

The five-year tenure of the former VC ended in October last year.

In view of this, the government appointed director extension SKUAST-K, Prof Mushtaq Ahmad as acting VC of the university till further orders.

However, the acting VC of SKUAST-K would attain superannuation by the end of this month, leaving the university headless.

Besides holding charge of acting VC, Prof Mushtaq also holds charges of other key positions in the university as well.

“He is also holding additional charge of Registrar, Director Research, Director Extension and Dean Horticulture. So from April, all these posts will be left vacant due to the retirement of Prof Mushtaq,” an official said.

He said of the seven subject matter faculties of SKUAST-K, only faculty of forestry and faculty of fisheries are headed by permanent deans while others are headed by in-charge deans.

“Dean Faculty of Fisheries will also attain superannuation this month,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the SKUAST-K Scientists and Teachers Association (SSTA) has expressed concern over the delay in appointment of permanent VC for the university and said all the key positions of deans, directors and registrar would be vacant by March end which would tell upon the academic and research activities in the institution.

“We appeal the Lieutenant Governor, who is also the chancellor of the university, to appoint a permanent VC for the smooth functioning of the university,” the spokesman of the SSTA SKUAST-K said.

“The in-charge system is not in the interest of the students, faculty or the institution,” he said.

Principal Secretary Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare Department, Navin Kumar Choudhary said his job was only to constitute a search committee to submit a panel of candidates for the appointment of VC SKUAST-K.

“I am not responsible for it as I am not the member or chairman of the committee. I did my job and constituted a search committee. The chairman of the committee should answer when he will submit the recommendations,” he said.