IRMA Cannot Take New Admission for 1 Year Due to Unqualified Director?
Gujarat-based Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) was founded with the belief, borne out by Dr Verghese Kurien’s work in the dairy co-operatives, that the key to effective rural development is professional management.
 
However, as with almost every institution supported or funded by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), IRMA too has fallen short of these expectations.
 
For example, IRMA's director Prof Hitesh V Bhatt does not have the necessary qualifications for the job and, yet, is holding the post since December 2017, with support from the IRMA board headed by NDDB chairman Dilip Rath. With Prof Bhatt remaining director for over 18 months without adequate qualifications, IRMA is technically barred from admitting new students for one year, as per the rules and regulations of the institution. 
 
Documents procured under Right to Information (RTI) Act reveal that the issue of Prof Bhatt’s qualifications was referred to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The AICTE, in turn, referred it to the Research, Institutional & Faculty Development (RFID) Bureau. 
 
The Standing Complaints Scrutiny Committee (SCSC) at the RFID Bureau discussed the matter at its meeting between 22nd and 24 May 2019. The Committee says, "...it may be seen from the faculty details of Prof Bhat that he has done B Tech from IIT, Delhi, and M Sc from Atlanta, US. But has not acquired a Ph D, which is mandatory qualification for the post of principal/director. In view of the same and also looking at the entire eligibility criteria, it may be clear that Prof Bhat does not fulfil the same as per AICTE norms."
 
 
However, the issue is not limited to the lack of qualifications of Prof Bhat to hold the post. As per the All India Council for Technical Education (Grant of Approvals for Technical institutions) Regulations, 2011, the institution, which does not fulfil requirement of qualified principal or director cannot admit new students.

 
Rule 14.3 of the Regulations says, "The Institution, which does not have qualified principal/ director as prescribed in position, for a period, more than 18 months shall be liable to be placed under no admission status."
 
 
IRMA was founded in 1979 at the initiative of NDDB and the support of government of India, government of Gujarat and Swiss Development Co-operation. Talking about IRMA in his biography, "I Too Had a Dream", Dr Kurien had said, “My reasoning was even if only a handful of students each year from such an institute (IRMA) could grow, evolve, stride out into the world and, perhaps build some more Amuls, what a boon it would be for our rural people and for the nation.”
 
In August 2017, IRMA had published an advertisement for the post of director in the Economic and Political Weekly. As per the advertisement, the candidate for the post of director was required to have a minimum qualification of Ph D or its equivalent with 15 years’ experience of teaching after the doctorate.
 
 
Quoting from a release by IRMA, a report from DNA, says, Prof Bhatt, who is with the Institute since 1995 was appointed as its new director from 1 December 2017. “The appointment comes a few months after RC Natarajan, the institute's director at the time, faced charges of sexual harassment by an employee,” the report says. 
 
According to a report by The Quint, one Prof Ram Manohar Vikas, who was teaching faculty at IRMA till June 2018, had raised the issue of lack of qualification of Prof Bhatt. Prof Vikas, who has been terminated by IRMA, had filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court against his termination and also approached the AICTE on appointment of Prof Bhatt as director of IRMA. 
 
Prof Bhatt told the website that the decision of his appointment was taken by the IRMA board. “In 2012, before my predecessor Mrs Jeemol Unni became the director, the board had written to me asking me to apply for the post as there was a positive response from the Alumni. But I wrote back saying that I am not an academician and turned down the offer; soon Mrs Unni took up the post. Five years later history repeated itself and the board again approached me and said, ‘We would like to have you as our Director since we are not able to find a suitable candidate’. I told them that I am not a Ph D. Yet, they had faith in me and appointed me as the director,” Prof Bhatt told The Quint.
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    Disaster strikes Kolkata Metro work: Bengal Minister among hundreds homeless
    A West Bengal Minister was among over 400 persons forced to evacuate their residences and shops in the heart of the city after more than 50 buildings developed cracks—and several collapsed—apparently due to tunnelling work for the under-construction 16.60-km East West Metro Railway project—a part of which constitutes India's first under-river train line.
     
    The project -- technologically analogous to the Eurostar (connecting Paris and London)—met with what the implementing agency Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation Limited (KMRCL) called an "unprecedented disaster" on August 31, when a tunnel boring machine hit an aquifer resulting in water and silt gushing in and triggering serious ground loss on several roads in central Kolkata's Bowbazar area -- close to the city's bustling office and business hub Esplanade and Dalhousie.
     
    While 10 buildings developed cracks on August 31, the number increased to 20 the next day and climbed up to 52 till Thursday, prompting authorities to shift more than 400 dwellers to hotels or guest houses in the vicinity. At least two buildings have caved in.
     
    Among those asked vacate their residences by senior KMRCL officials was state Planning and Statistics Minister Tapas Roy as a precautionary measure as cracks have appeared in most adjacent buildings. Roy, who has been residing at BB Ganguly Street for over a decade, termed the situation "unfortunate".
     
    Meanwhile, the KMRC has announced a relief of Rs 5 lakh to each household evacuated in a sudden/unplanned manner following damage to their residence.
     
    "The KMRCL board of directors have decided to immediately release Rs 5 lakh per family to those affected," it said in a statement.
     
    The order to vacate "immediately" came to families on Durga Pituri Lane, Babu Ram Seal Lane and Gour De Lane.
     
    Anindita Dey, 25, is scheduled to get married on December 1. Her family was given "10 minutes" on Monday to take out their valuables and important documents. But before they could get anything out, the building collapsed burying their belongings in the rubble.
     
    The Dey family, now lodged in a hotel by the KMRCL, is now banking on the announced Rs 5 lakh compensation and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to see through the wedding.
     
    The KMRCL has promised to reconstruct or repair the damaged buildings, and provide the shifted residents flats on rent if their hotel stay "is prolonged".
     
    The agency has also engaged several experts "of both national and international repute" for addressing the issue in the best possible manner", the statement said.
     
    "International experts namely Paul Vireli (tunnel expert from South Africa), Guy Bridges (Hong Kong), geotechnical engineer John Endicott (Singapore), grouting expert Kiril Shramka (Russia) and Kumar Pitchumani from Chennai are already in Kolkata," it said.
     
    According to KMRCL, the tunnel boring work has been stopped and would resume only after a green signal from the court. Company officials fear that the project could be delayed by at least a year, leading to a massive cost escalation.
     
    The court will hear the matter on September 16.
     
    Meanwhile, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim has sought Railway Minister Piyush Goel's intervention to control the damage and ensure proper rehabilitation of the affected denizens. Hakim also charged the KMRCL with negligence that has caused the "massive human suffering".
     
    The Chief Minister, who reviewed the situation with KMRCL authorities, experts, police and administrative officials earlier this week, has decided to form a core group comprising the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, City Police Commissioner and representatives of affected houses and shops to look into the tunnelling related problems.
     
    The Metro corridor bridges the twin cities of Howrah and Kolkata—two of the most populous areas—has been planned to drastically cut down travel cost and time, almost by an hour and a half.
     
    The Metro would run from Salt Lake's Sector V, Kolkata's IT hub, and Howrah Maidan. Out of the total 16.60 kms, 5.8 km is an elevated corridor and 10.8 km will run underground. The 520-metre twin tunnels under the river are part of the underground stretch.
     
    Once commissioned in 2019, one would travel more than a 10-storied building below the water surface for almost half a kilometre across the 460 metre-wide Hooghly.
     
    The Metro project—connecting two of the world's busiest railway stations Sealdah and Howrah—was originally slated to be operational by 2012, but the deadline has got pushed back repeatedly due to land and other issues.
     
    The affected section—from Esplanade to Sealdah—is a 2.45 km stretch. The tunnel boring machine was about 600 metres from Sealdah when disaster struck. The projected daily maximum passenger load is nine lakh.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    AKSHAY GANESH KINI

    1 month ago

    This is a Kolkata Metro project, but this quote is hilarious:
    "Meanwhile, state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim has sought Railway Minister Piyush Goel's intervention to control the damage and ensure proper rehabilitation of the affected denizens. "

    What a way to quietly shift the responsibility to the center.

    I hope the media calls out on such hilarity instead of publishing articles verbatim.

    Rains cripple life in Mumbai - third time this monsoon
    For the third time this monsoon, pouring rains brought the country's commercial capital to a standstill with total disruption in road and rail traffic and flights here on Wednesday.
     
    Earlier, Mumbai had been brought to its knees on July 2/3 and August 3/4 when heavy rains clobbered the city, claiming nearly three dozen lives in varous rain-related incidents.
     
    Though a renewed bout of rains had started lashing the Mumbai Metropolitan Region since Monday, the city itself collapsed in the less than 18 hours of overnight rains since Tuesday evening.
     
    In the past 36 hours, the India Meteorological Department said Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts averaged a whopping 25-30 cms rains, while Vasai-Virar belt in Palghar got a staggering 50 cms rains.
     
    The IMD has issued a 'Red Alert' for Mumbai and surrounding districts which could be lashed by very heavy rains over the next two-three days.
     
    As a precautionary measure on Wednesday, the government declared a holiday for all public and private schools in these districts, advised people to venture outdoors only if necessary and exercise other safety measures.
     
    This afternoon, the National Disaster Response Force, the Indian Navy and the Mumbai Police came to the rescue of around 1,500 people stranded in the flood waters of Mumbai's sole flowing fresh-water body, the Mithi River which overflowed and entered their homes in Krantinagar area of Kurla.
     
    According to sources, around 20 flights were cancelled and 280 affected by delays, go-arounds etc, due to heavy rains and fluctuating visibility conditions. However, Mumbai International Airport Ltd officials said the operations were "near-normal".
     
    Though the city's lifelines - Western Railway and Central Railway continued to function with hiccups, by noon, the local and long-distance services had to be suspended due to heavy waterlogging on railway tracks at different locations.
     
    WR was suspended for several hours between Churchgate-Andheri and Vasai-Virar due to waterlogging near Mahim-Matunga.
     
    However, by 6 p.m., the trains were restored between Churchgate-Vasai, though tracks on the Vasai-Virar sector were still submerged after over 50 cms rainfall hit the area, said a WR spokesperson.
     
    The WR cancelled two long-distance services, short-terminated two, diverted four and rescheduled 18 trains on its network, throwing passengers' plans haywire.
     
    The CR was suspended between Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus-Thane, but surprisingly, the vulnerable Harbour Line operated with delays. The CR cancelled 24 long-distance trains, short-terminated four, short-originated 3 and rescheduled seven trains.
     
    Total chaos reigned on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) and Western Express Highway (WEH), main roads and arterial roads with waterlogging in many areas like Mulund, Bhandup, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Sion, Kings Circle, Wadala, Chunabhatti, and Bandra, Santacruz, Vile Parle, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Malad, Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar.
     
    Many low-lying areas in the city including Sion, Wadala, Dadar, Parel, Kings Circle, Matunga, Chunabhatti and in suburbs Andheri, Jogeshwari, Santacruz, Malad, Borivali, Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli, Kurla and surroundings were flooded in one or three feet and more water, in many areas water entering people's homes on the ground floor.
     
    Roads on the exteriors like Mumbai-Goa Highway, Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Ghodbunder Road, Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway, Mumbai-Navi Mumbai Road, and others also experienced huge traffic snarls as the snowballing effect of the conditions in Mumbai.
     
    In several places, big and small vehicles were stranded in the flood waters forcing their occupants to abandon them, which added to the traffic jams.
     
    Virtually caught unprepared by the overnight downpour, people had to wade in knee-deep to waist-deep waters for their normal chores, while in Ganesh Talao area of Kandivali, locals deployed a make-shift raft to ferry people in the flooded areas.
     
    The BMC had made arrangements for stranded commuters at various locations near railway stations where they could spend the night with the railways and NGOs making arrangements for food and snacks.
     
    Rains severely hit the ongoing Ganeshotsav festivities in the four districts - Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad - and flood waters seeped inside the various marquees and pandals compelling the BrihanMumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti President Naresh Dahibavkar to issue a precautionary appeal.
     
    "All Ganeshotsav mandals are requested to check for any water seepage and whether any power lines are touching water. They must exercise extreme caution and switch off power supply to the marquees (pandals) to ensure safety of all," Dahibavkar urged.
     
    The famed Lalbaug-cha Raja - where devotees queue up for 12-18 hours for a 'darshan', could manage it in barely 10 minutes today!
     
    The Andhericha Raja venue was flooded with four feet water, in Nala Sopara, the Sainath Mitra Mandal shifted its idols up by nearly a metre after the entire pandal was flooded in 5-6 feet waters. There are no reports of any damage to any marquee or idols from anywhere.
     
    Shootings of several Bollywood films and teleserials had to be cancelled as water seeped in studios and outdoor locales sites. Sunny Deol postponed the trailer launch of his son Karan's debut "Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas" while waterlogging was seen outside Amitabh Bachchan's Juhu bungalow 'Prateeksha' this afternoon.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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