GANGTOK: The ruling Sikkim Democratic Front today accused the Sikkim University vice-chancellor of being insensitive to the development of education in the state.
SDF spokespersons P.D. Rai and Bhim Dahal told reporters that VC Mahendra P. Lama was more interested in his “political agenda” and “global tours” than spending quality time with the university.
The SDF salvo comes after Lama’s repeated statements on the delay in handing over 250 acres of land at Yangyang in South Sikkim to the SU to develop its campus.
“The university was established through the tireless efforts of our government which also made strong recommendations to get Lama as its first VC. However, his statements on the Yangyang land and his refusal to grant affiliation to the Geyzing degree college in the West district are unacceptable,” said Rai.
After failing to get the approval from the SU, the government got the college affiliated to the private Vinayaka Mission’s Sikkim University. The degree college was inaugurated by chief minister Pawan Chamling on June 28.
Rai said the SU had denied affiliation to the college when 1,300 students passed the Class XII board exams in West Sikkim.
“Where should we then take our students? We appealed for affiliation from the Vinayaka Mission’s Sikkim University. This year, 225 students were admitted to the university and only 21 of them are from Sikkim. It is clear that the VC is against the state’s interests.”
Touching upon delay in the land transfer, Dahal said: “The families that have to vacate the land proposed for the campus are demanding rehabilitation and will not move till then. We are not stalling the transfer, but we have to rehabilitate the evictees first.”
Lama said the SU had only stated facts concerning the delay in land transfer and the affiliation issues.
“We had received four letters from the government, asking us to take possession of the land. Each time we found that the land had not been vacated. We have paid the state government Rs 15 crore. The delay in setting up the campus will result in the non-utilisation of UGC funds. We denied affiliation to the Geyzing college as it did not follow the norms laid out by the UGC. We had informed the government about this,” Lama said.
Asked about his “foreign trips”, the VC said: “Whenever I travel to Delhi or abroad, I promote the university and the state free of cost. These questions are out of the purview of those asking them.”