Vice-Chancellor of the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) B. Ashok gets a taste of red tape.

He recently received an invitation from the Scotland-based University of Edinburgh to address its McIntyre conference on U.K.-India collaboration in higher education to be held on May 15 and 16. The University of Edinburgh offered to meet the cost of his travel and accommodation.

He is supposed to chair a session on ‘cooperation in agriculture and animal science research’.

The invitation received in March 2014 was forwarded to Governor and Chancellor Sheila Dixit for her approval. The Chancellor sought on April 4 the government’s opinion on the subject.

The letter written on behalf of the Chancellor reportedly neither mentioned the significance or the fact that the hosts were paying for the travel and accommodation.

When the details were submitted, the file was processed by the Agriculture Department.

There was alleged delay in the file being cleared by the General Administration Department.

Queries raised

After repeated reminders from both the university and the Chancellor’s Office, Chief Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan, on May 3, raised last-minute queries on the file whether the VC had applied for permission to accept foreign hospitality and whether the travel was “official”. On May 6, the Vice-Chancellor replied that such “statutory applications were duly filed in April” and the journey was not “personal”.

“Participating in the prestigious event is beneficial to the university and I have no personal gain. I have written to the Chancellor pointing out the delay and the possible loss of opportunity. It is rather late now to clear the VISA formalities. Unless the Chancellor’s permission is received by Friday the chances of clearing them are bleak,” Dr. Ashok told The Hindu.

“When the hosts are keen that a university from Kerala participate in the event, the Secretariat should take a favourable stand. Many other universities in the country, even those that do not have ties similar to those between the University of Edinburgh and KVASU, are sending their representatives,” added Dr. Ashok.

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