Leaders want financial dealings and malpractices in admission probed

Expressing solidarity with the teaching and non-teaching staff of Annamalai University, a day-long, all-party hunger strike was observed at Chidambaram on Thursday.

The political leaders lashed out at the management and opposed the proposed move to either halve the salary or reduce staff strength. Since it is a government-aided university, they called for its immediate takeover and replacement of incumbent Pro-Chancellor M.A.M. Ramasamy with Higher Education Minister P. Palaniappan.

The leaders also sought a probe into the financial dealings of the university and malpractices in admission and recruitment. They demanded the university reopen immediately in the interests of the 30,000-odd students.

They pointed out that commercialisation of education in the university had spawned a host of middlemen who had amassed wealth and come to play a domineering role in running the university, thus relegating the academics and administrative staff to the background.

Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol. Thirumavalavan said the university had lost its veneer of academic institution and turned into a rabid commercial enterprise, giving rise to the proliferation of middlemen. He wanted the university to reopen immediately to avoid disruption in the academic pursuit of the students. He wondered why the State Government remained a silent spectator to the sordid affairs of the university.

Mr. Thirumavalavan called for the constitution of an enquiry committee headed by a retired Judge to go into the murky financial dealings of the university.

Instead of having different rules to govern private or deemed universities, the government should pass a single legislation to cover all universities.

Chidambaram MLA K. Balakrishnan said the government must amend the rules to make the Higher Education Minister the Pro-Chancellor of the university. The end of justice would be met only when those who were responsible for pushing the university into financial doldrum were punished.

Leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, Pattali Makkal Katchi and Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam, besides the members of the Joint Action Council of the university staff, participated.