After enduring more than seven months of anxiety over their jobs, several teachers at Indian Maritime University, Chennai were told on Friday that their services had been terminated and that they were no longer employed by the university.
This comes after four high-level inquiries into the alleged irregularities in the hiring of these teachers, including one by former secretary of shipping P.K. Sinha, who gave all these teachers a clean chit.
All the targeted teachers are PhD holders in management, maritime law and nautical sciences among others from top universities.
Last December, the university’s former vice-chancellor G. Raghuram, hired around 40 faculty members of whom 20 joined in January 2013. However, until April they were not paid their salaries, and 19 others were not given appointment orders.
Repeated executive council meetings followed and in one, malpractices in their recruitments were suspected, following which Prof. Raghuram resigned in March. However, in reviews after that, the council said there was nothing wrong with the recruitments.
Teachers at IMU said ever since Prof. Raghuram resigned a section of officials at IMU and the shipping ministry have been trying to cancel all the appointments he made.
“In other universities, executive council meetings take place once a year, but here the council meets every fortnight to discuss the issue of appointment of duly qualified teachers, who have got in through proper interviews,” said a teacher.
Last month, many of these teachers were transferred to various IMU campuses around the country. “People were sent to Cochin and Mumbai where the campuses don’t even have departments in the subjects the teachers are specialists in.Two of our teachers resigned because of this harassment,” said another teacher.
One teacher whose service has been terminated said he was told about this by the management but has not yet received an official letter from the shipping ministry, which oversees the Central university. Teachers, however, said, many of them have been told by the management about the termination but have not received a letter officially from the ministry.
“Also, being terminated from the college at this time of the year makes it difficult to get a job elsewhere as the academic year has begun, and recruitments will start only next year,” said a teacher.
Last week, two senior members of the executive council resigned. Both attributed their resignation to the interference of shipping ministry officials in the functioning of the university and the cancellation of teachers’ appointments.
“I have been involved in the selection of staff and bringing in some improvements to the university for one year. When a university management is trying to cancel the appointments of qualified teachers for no reason, how can I be part of that?” a resignation letter of one of the members said.
The Indian Maritime University (IMU) is a Central University with campuses in six places, head-quartered in the city, was established in 2008 to impart maritime education. It came under scanner with CBI raids at its Chennai campus, and at the house of its first VC, P. Vijayan in 2009.
An executive council member said they had made several important decisions regarding recruitments and the running of the institute, and would announce them soon.