A wise man flees from the tempest which he cannot control. This may be the fact as to why the two successive resignations at the country’s only Central university for maritime education, Indian Maritime University (IMU) by its Vice-Chancellor and Registrar, have set tongues wagging among the fraternity on whether all is well in the institution.
First, it was Prof. Raghuram, who had held the post of V-C at IMU for about eight months from July 2012, resigned during the last week of March.
Then, it was Commander M. Anand (retd), said to be the trusted deputy of Prof. Raghuram and who has joined IMU as Registrar (after 26 years of Commissioned Service in the Education Branch of Indian Navy) in November last year, resigned within days of Prof. Raghuram’s exit.
Though both the resignations could not be linked from any side, these resignations indeed sent out a strong message to the maritime academics that all is not well in the four-year-old Central university formed by an Act of Parliament.
According to sources, Prof. Raghuram’s resignation is seen as a desperate act after being caught in the red-tape of bureaucracy. However, Mr. Anand’s sudden resignation, that too within just three and a half months since he took over the post, puzzled many in the fraternity and enquiries to the regard met with no definitive answers.
While Prof. Raghuram sat in the VC chair for just eight months, he did try to recruit permanent faculties for the varsity and relied on the latest modules of interview to scuttle any delays in the process.
However, his ‘eagerness’ to recruit more and more permanent teaching staff for the varsity reportedly ruffled feathers with higher officials in the Union Shipping Ministry.
Speaking to Sagar Sandesh, a senior member of maritime fraternity seeking anonymity, said that Prof. Raghuram, a committed academician who took up the VC post with the sole objective of cleansing the system, failed to understand the intricacies in appointing permanent faculties for the university.
Though the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in April 2010 approved a proposal to provide financial support of Rs. 282.25 crores to Indian Maritime University (IMU), Chennai, to meet capital expenditure as well as recurring deficit, there was no clear mention about recruitment of permanent faculties and their benefits for the institution.
According to information available, the annual income of the IMU would be generated from three major sources -fees and other income, donations / receipts and grants from the Government.
Most importantly, there was a mention that the revenue streams should be utilized for meeting the non-plan expenditure – that is understandably the salary for faculties.
In the absence of specific regulations, procedures and directions for remuneratory benefits for permanent faculties at IMU, Prof. Raghuram’s move for recruiting these faculties irked the Shipping Ministry as this move was falling well beyond the procedures adopted for such appointments in the varsity.
Spelling out its stand on the procedural lapses by the IMU while recruiting 22-odd faculties on permanent basis, the Shipping Ministry had constituted a committee to look into the issue.
In the meantime, when Prof. Raghuram came to know about the procedures and the web of red-tape in appointing permanent faculties, he decided to take the issue on its stride.
However, he could not succeed in his convincing efforts with the Shipping Ministry and it has forced him to take the final decision, which brought in Capt. Mukesh Baveja as the new Vice-Chancellor of the university.