Leaders, including MPs, MLAs call up officials, seek required attendance for ‘their’ candidates

Officials refusing to toe line are warned with threat of holding dharnas, processions

The tone and tenor of these leaders are aggressive, says a senior JNTU official

HYDERABAD: Interference of politicians in the administration is a new headache that the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) Hyderabad is unable to deal with and this new phenomenon is raising the hackles of teachers and students.

Of late, public representatives calling up officials to seek required attendance for their candidates is on the rise and the officials refusing to do so are being warned with the threat of holding dharnas and processions to create problems. “Putting pressure on us for violating rules, particularly in case of attendance shortage is a perennial problem. But this is on the rise,” says a senior official of JNTU Hyderabad.

75 p.c. mandatory

It is mandatory for every student to have 75 per cent attendance to sit for the examinations. A 10 per cent concession is given on medical grounds but students having below 65 per cent attendance are not allowed to take the examinations. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has repeatedly stressed on the attendance aspect at various fora including the Vice-Chancellors’ conferences.

Unlike the past, top politicians including MPs and MLAs are repeatedly calling up and pressurising officials to do favours.

“Earlier they used to call us once or twice perhaps unable to take the pressure from their followers. But now the tone and tenor are aggressive and despite telling them that it is below their stature to ask such undue favours they are not relenting,” said an official. If the officials don’t take the requests seriously the calls are followed by warnings of dharnas at the college or the university.

Non-serious students

Officials attribute this growing absenteeism to non-serious students joining engineering courses given the ample availability. “It is these candidates who seek help from their student unions and politicians of the respective parties,” an official said.

The problem of the university administration is that it cannot tamper with the attendance records sent by the colleges. Since the colleges too send regular reports to the university with the semester system on there is little chance to change records. Officials argue that if attendance issue is not viewed seriously it will encourage even the good candidates to bunk.