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Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, January 01, 2013
Kashmir University's administration has started its first clean up act for 2013 - it will sell off 'misused' fleet of official vehicles to boost the varsity's research area.
In the past few years, the varsity's around 43 departments have purchased more than 100 vehicles, which include luxury cars like Scorpio, Tavera, Safari and Qualis. An approximate expenditure on 100 vehicles stands at around Rs. 7 crore.

These cars were mainly used to ferry officials from the varsity to home and vice-versa. The officials even to the lowest rank of deputy and assistant registrars were entitled with vehicles at the cost of research of students and their fieldwork. Even the varsity ambulance was used to purchase grocery for officials, sources said.

Footing fuel bills that run into lakhs of rupees, the varsity has decided to lean its fleet of vehicles. 

"I have reduced fleet of vehicles. Only those people, entitled to official vehicles, will use them," said Kashmir Univerity vice-chancellor Prof. Talat Ahmad.

The varsity is mulling to auction some vehicles and many will be handed over some to the state garage department to generate some revenue.

"Many of these vehicles are old, many are new. We have to go by the rules. We will approach the government and see what should be done with these vehicles," said Prof Talat.

The administration is planning to use the auction money for research and uplift of field work of students.

The varsity's overdrive with purchase of vehicles is obvious from the fact that the country's reputed university, Jawaharlal Nehru University, has only two vehicles meant for the vice-chancellor and the registrar.

In December last year, around 40 officials' vehicles were withdrawn. More will follow this month, sources said.

Many officials on the condition of anonymity told the Hindustan Times that some vehicles should be dedicated to research students and departments involved in field work like botany, zoology, geology etc.

Sources said an official whose car was withdrawn has approached an influential minister to retain it and the administration department caved in.