Director, Registrar sacked; duo said to be running institute like fief, deposed after long struggle by NIT staff
Srinagar: The National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar has been attached to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jammu, after some of its senior officials including the interim Director, Abdul Rashid Dar, were charged with mismanagement and gross violations of directives issued by the Board of Governors (BOG).
The interim Director along with the Registrar of the institute, Fayaz Ahmad Mir, have been sacked. The BOG charged them with violating its orders and of messing up the management of the institute. The Union Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) has issued the order of their sacking.
Incharge Registrar Mohammad Shafi Mir said that the NIT Srinagar been attached to IIT Jammu.
Insiders told Kashmir Reader that the institute had been “nearly hijacked” by these officials. They said that the officials ignored several directives from the BOG, among them one to replace Registrar Fayaz Ahmad Mir, following completion of his tenure. There was also growing resentment from faculty and non-teaching staff against them for the mismanagement of the institute’s affairs, the failure to implement BOG policies, the refusal to advertise and fill administrative posts, and the restructuring of staff and withholding their promotions.
“The BOG had been completely sidelined. They were trying to hand over the autonomy of the institute to the HRD ministry by snatching the executive powers from the BOG chairman. Every time the BOG gave directions for administrative or academic purposes, these people threw them in the dustbin and issued their own dictates,” said a senior official at the institute.
The duo have also been accused of financial irregularities in the funds provided by the HRD ministry under the scheme ‘Direct Admission of Students Abroad’, under which Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) were provided admission in premier institutes of India. The admission process for the scheme was carried out by NIT Srinagar last year.
On May 25 this year, non-teaching employees observed a prolonged strike till June 6, against the growing irregularities in the management of the institute. They sought the removal of the registrar, whom they referred to as the “root cause” of all the problems.
“The Registrar was acting like a dictator. His orders, whether in line with or against the NIT statutes, were final. Due to the incompetence of the interim Director, it was the Registrar who was at the helm of affairs,” said the General Secretary of the Non-Teaching Employees Association, Pervez Ahmad.
Ahmad said that the strike was called off after BOG Chairman MJ Zarabi intervened and assured that the grievances of the employees would be addressed.
After the strike was withdrawn, officials from both the teaching and non-teaching staff wrote to top officials of the HRD ministry that they were being “misled” by the NIT interim Director and an official in the HRD. They also informed the officials of the twisted state of affairs at the institute.
“When the chairman of the BOG learnt that the Director was misleading the HRD ministry through some blue-eyed officials, he approached top officials of the ministry and revealed to them the ground situation. When they (HRD officials) became aware of the reality, they summoned the Director to Delhi and sought a clarification from him,” senior officials of NIT said.
The HRD ministry then directed Dar to replace the Registrar by August, a decision he did not implement when he arrived back at NIT. “He said nothing about the HRD order and continued with his regular dictates,” the senior officials said.
In its 94th meeting on July 19 last month, the BOG ordered the Director to appoint Mohammad Shafi Mir as the new Registrar with immediate effect, as the tenure of maximum five years of Fayaz Ahmad Mir had already ended.
The Director, however, bluntly told the Chairman that he would not abide by the directive of replacing the Registrar. The petty reason the Director gave was that he was “not comfortable” with the decision.
When senior officials of the HRD ministry came to know of this, they immediately ordered the removal of Dar from office and also ordered the attachment of NIT Srinagar with IIT Jammu.
Dar, who is professor at the Department of Civil Engineering at NIT Srinagar, claimed that the BOG is not some supreme body to conduct affairs of the institute and that he is not bound to abide by its chairman’s decisions.
“All the executive powers lie with me. I am responsible for everything here. It rests with me to choose the Registrar of the institute,” he told Kashmir Reader.
The other official sacked from the office of Registrar, FA Mir, also denied the allegations against him. “Let them say what they have to. I don’t have to say anything,” he said.