Were Varsities forced to cough up money?
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Were Varsities forced to cough up money?

October 27, 2018

Mysuru: For the first time in the history of Dasara Exhibition, the Higher Education Department mooted the idea of showcasing the strength of 19 State Universities.

Though the idea was novel and a lot of preparation had gone into it by setting up an expert committee — with Vice- Chancellors of each University as members — nearly one-and-a-half months ago, things have not gone as per plans.

The mega stall was to be inaugurated on Oct.18 by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy who was in city. Almost all the Vice-Chancellors, Registrars and other officials of the Universities and Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) had gathered to participate in the inauguration on that day.

However, by afternoon, Higher Education Minister G.T. Devegowda called all of them for a luncheon meeting at a private hotel only to inform them that the CM had decided to postpone the opening since the stalls were not ready.

At the meetings held earlier, the Vice-Chancellors were told to chip in Rs. 3 lakh each while Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) were asked to pay Rs. 25 lakh each to the KSHEC. The money was to be used to print one lakh information brochures for each University.

However, on Oct. 18 when all of them were ready to participate in the opening ceremony, Vice-Chancellors were told that the original idea of having banners and posters at the stalls (a few of the Universities had already put them up) was cancelled and instead, digital stalls would be put up.

Graphic artist Prakash Chikkapalya had already been selected to conceptualise and design the stalls. All of them had to work in coordination with him by fixing an appointment and providing materials.

“First of all the opening schedule was postponed and heads of each University including Vice- Chancellor, Registrar, Registrar (Evaluation) were all present on that day (Oct.18) leaving their administrative work behind. Then we are forced to pay Rs. 3 lakh and we also have to pay the cost of setting up the stall. Most of the Universities have neither the resources nor staff to handle such a situation,” a University official who wanted to be anonymous told Star of Mysore.

He wondered how newly-set up Universities like Bengaluru Central University and Bengaluru North University with hardly any infrastructure and staff could deploy their people to man the 90-day exhibition.

“In some of these Universities except for the VC, Registrar and Registrar (Evaluation) there are no permanent staff. The infrastructure has still not been set up or transferred and we have outsourced most of the jobs and are somehow managing,” he pointed out.

He also said that there would be audit objections as they have to take prior approval even to spend as little as Rs.5,000 to Rs. 10,000. If the amount exceeds Rs. 1 lakh, then tenders have to be floated. University Syndicate members will also raise objections. There has been an oral promise of some exemptions by the KSHEC but nothing has come in writing so far, he added.

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