A NEWS report in a national Bengali daily on Friday said that Jagannath University has finalized the appointment of 10 section officers and one store officer at a syndicate meeting held on January 4. Out of them nine are university Chhatra League leaders which is the students’ front of the ruling party Awami League and the remaining two also belong to party university units but their selection was carried out under the VC’s discretionary quota. The appointment was hastily approved one day prior to the election held on January 5 to save the process from any risks. The report said that in fact the initial circular inviting applications for appointment was for four posts of section officers and a store officer and it shot up to 10 to provide jobs to party cadres.
The report said, 470 aspirants had applied for the jobs including 50 leaders and workers of the university unit of Chhatra League. It is alleged that the university authorities have finalized the appointments based on a list of candidates recommended by the President of the Varsity unit of the student body and a huge amount of money was traded in finalizing the list. Those student leaders who paid the money got the jobs. Others had no place. The report said Jagannath University Vice Chancellor is also an active ruling party leader who joined the post around six months ago when he was a member of the central committee of Jubo League.
The report further said the previous Vice Chancellor was also an active ruling party man and had similarly appointed 22 student leaders and workers as section officers against an offer for nine posts. Moreover, they were provided promotion within a year breaking the laws regulating promotions. The report quoted some other major irregularities in case of appointments and promotions but it is enough to say that the university authorities have given a damn to the rules and regulations to make sure in the first place that only the ruling party men are getting the jobs.
The news came as a fresh reminder how politicization of the administration and autonomous bodies by the ruling party men is going on at all levels denying equal job opportunities to deserving candidates beyond party affiliations. Now qualifications and efficiency points have lost grounds to party loyalty and to criminals within the ruling party cadres. And if the government is lending support to such irregularities and high corruption, there is none to uphold the rule of law or protect the universities from breaking apart. Moreover, the appointment of any number of persons to any organization without approved posts and financial allocations is creating new problems. In many cases, fund constraints create problems to pay wages and allowances to existing staff and force the authorities to transfer funds from other heads of accounts such as research and training to turn those institutions into political bastions of the ruling party instead of being real seats of education. We urge the University Grants Commission to look into the matter and save Jagannath University from abnormal levels of political interference which would lead to polarization in the future.