Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday constituted for the third time, in a period of five months, search committees for recruitment of new Vice Chancellors for Srinagar and Jammu Cluster Universities.
The first search committee, which was chaired by then Principal Secretary School Education, Asgar Samoon, was set up by the government on May 7 this year, following which the incumbent VCs of Srinagar and Jammu Cluster Universities, Prof Sheikh Javed Ahmad and Prof Anju Bhasin, respectively, put in their papers in protest against the government’s reduction of tenures of VCs at J&K varsities from five to three years.
On June 4, the government constituted another three-member search committee after the first was said to have been set up in violation of norms. The second search committee was chaired by Director IIM Jammu and included VC IUST Awantipora and VC Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Katra as members.
Questions had been raised over the credibility of the second search committee which had submitted a panel of candidates to the government more than a month ago.
Applications for the twin posts were invited in July. More than a hundred applicants applied for each post.
On September 11, ten applicants for the post of VC Cluster University Srinagar and 14 for its Jammu equivalent were called for interaction by the search committee in Jammu, a committee member told Kashmir Reader.
Among the ten applicants for the post of VC Srinagar University, none was from Kashmir, while a lone applicant for Cluster University Jammu was called for interaction by the committee, an official told Kashmir Reader.
The final panel of the best candidates was submitted to the J&K LG’s Secretariat by the search committee the very next day on September 12, a committee member said.
The poor representation did not go down well among the local candidates, who accused the government of sidelining them.
On Thursday, the Higher Education Department reconstituted both the search committees for appointing VCs at the twin Cluster Universities.
As per an order issued by Secretary HED, Talat Parvez Rohella, the search committee for Cluster University Srinagar will be chaired by Prof Rama Shanker Dubey, VC Central University of Gujarat, and will include Prof ASK Sinha, Director Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, Jais Amethi, and Dr Furquan Qamar, Professor at Centre for Management Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia New Delhi, as its members.
Likewise, Prof Alok Kumar Rai, VC University of Lucknow, will chair the search committee for the appointment of VC Cluster University Jammu while Dr Rakesh Sehgal, Director NIT Srinagar, and Prof Ravinder Kumar Sinha, VC Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University Katra, will be its members.
The reconstitution of the search committee has lent credibility to the grievances of the disgruntled J&K candidates left out of the selection process even as it has raised questions over the credibility of the earlier two search committees set up to carry out the recruitment process.
“Carrying out a fresh recruitment means that the earlier search committees had not done their work properly,” an official quipped.