Senior VU reader denied study leave for research

Shyam Sundar Roy MIDNAPORE, 1 APRIL: The President and Prime Minister have frequently stressed that university teachers should engage in research activities for the country's development. However, the decision makers of Vidyasagar University (VU) recently prevented a senior teacher from pursuing research in the institution. The teacher was not granted study leave for the purpose by the CPI-M-controlled executive council to conduct advanced research on the problems of land acquisition for industries by the Left Front government. The affected teacher is Mr Abhijit Guha, a reader in the department of anthropology of the VU. He applied for study leave for two years from 10 December 2009, as per provisions under Section 122 of the Vidyasagar University First Ordinances, 1985. Curiously, the VU authorities sat on his application for more than three months, despite repeated appeals by Mr Guha. Finally, the VU registrar informed him on 31 December 2009 ~ three weeks after the scheduled commencement of his leave ~ and several days after the VU executive council meeting, saying, "The executive council, in its meeting on 17 November 2009, has not accepted your request for study leave, as you haven't mentioned the name of the institute where you wish to conduct the study." However, the VU Ordinances have no provisions to ask an applicant seeking study leave to mention the name of the institute where he would conduct research. Section 122 of the Ordinance clearly states, "Study leave for advanced study and research may be granted to a full-time permanent employee of the university by the executive council, provided such employee has put in at least two years' service. And, there shall be a gap of at least three years between two periods of such leave." Mr Guha has been serving the VU for more than 24 years and he did not take any study leave even when he wrote the book, "Land, Law and the Left" in 2007 criticising the LF government. The book had earned him national and international recognition. When contacted to comment on the matter, the VU Vice Chancellor, Professor SK Pramanick, was enraged and slammed the phone. The fuming VC belittled The Statesman correspondent alleging, "Are you acting as personal secretary of Mr Guha?" Courtesy: The Statesman
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