In a move aimed at bringing the troubled 84-year-old Annamalai University under its fold, the State government on Thursday posted Shiv Das Meena, an IAS officer with over 20 years’ experience, as Administrator of the University, near Chidambaram of Cuddalore district, about 225 km from here.
Mr. Meena, a 1989 IAS batch officer, promptly took charge of his new assignment. He was till now Commissioner of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection. It is not the first time that the government posts IAS officers to manage the affairs of Universities. In the case of Madras University in the last 25 years, three officers – Ashok Vardhan Shetty, D. Jothi Jagarajan and P. Kolappan – held the post of Registrar.
Concerned over the state of the university, which is embroiled in a deep financial crisis, the State government decided to draw authority from Section 28(4) of the law concerning the University to appoint the Administrator. He would have “administrative and financial powers,” which he would exercise in the interests of “the University, teaching and non-teaching staff and students,” sources say. As per an order issued by Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, the Administrator will hold the post for one year or till the need for it ceases, whichever is earlier.
The university has about 37,000 students on its Chidambaram campus and nearly three lakh students are in the stream of distance education.