Haryana government has ordered an inquiry against Vice Chancellor of Kurukshetra University (KU), Lt General (retd) DDS Sandhu for prima facie misusing his powers in engaging 1578 employees without proper justification and authorization of the state government.
While engaging 1578 employees, the provisions of state government’s outsourcing policy were violated resulting in avoidable financial burden on the state exchequer, said the government’s inquiry order of March 2. When contacted, KU, Vice Chancellor, Lt General (retd) DDS Sandhu said he cannot comment on the matter before hand. “Since an inquiry has been instituted, the facts will come out,’’ he said.
‘VC displayed lack of accountability’
Officials said by engaging 1578 employees through outsourcing without prior approval of the state government, the Vice Chancellor has displayed lack of accountability and financial prudence. He has also saddled the state government with an annual additional financial liability of Rs 7.20 crore for paying the wages of these employees. The matter came to light when the University sought a sanction of Rs 7.20 crore from the state government, officials said. Para wise comments were sought by the Higher Education department from the KU Vice Chancellor and Registrar on this issue.
‘KU shrugging of responsibility’
“The University has failed to reply to the queries of Higher Education department and is trying to put the onus of its wrong doing on the state government. Never every any approval of the government was sought while engaging such a large number of workers. And when a crisis has emerged, the Vice Chancellor is seeking a decision from the government for reducing the number of outsourced workers which is in a way shrugging off the responsibility,’’ said a department note.
“State government’s outsourcing policy clearly stipulates that all the expenses for outsourcing of services shall be restricted within the sanctioned budget of the department and no separate allocation will be made on this account. Also this policy is meant only for outsourcing such services for which no sanctioned posts are available,’’ officials said. Surprisingly, about 815 posts of class III and IV employees were lying vacant in the University. Did the University send a requisition to employment exchange to fill up these posts?, officials said.
As per University’s version sent to the state government, 1321 workers were employed by KU as peons, gardeners, cleaners, cooks, waiters, clerks, technical assistants, lab assistants, library attendants, drivers, security personnel and for construction branch under state government’s outsourcing policy of 2009. When the workers went on strike in August 2014 demanding wages as per the rates fixed by Deputy Commissioner, the University engaged 257 more persons as “stop gap arrangement”. “The outsourced workers were given assurance by the state government that none of them will be removed from University. Therefore, all the workers 1321+257 were taken back on duty on Deputy Commissioner rates.
Univ’s version false
The Higher Education department however rebutted the University’s version saying it was totally false and fabricated as neither the workers nor the University authorities represented the state government and no assurance of any kind was given as per official record. “Moreover, the University has not replied that they have followed the provisions of the outsourcing policy in letter and spirit," said a department note.
The department said that KU’s contention that Rs 7 crore provided for payment of outsourcing services in the budget was approved by statutory bodies of University was not correct as if appropriate provision was made in the KU budget then how the University was now demanding the sum. “KU’s submission for engaging 333 persons for construction branch is misleading as it should have either got the construction/ maintenance work from public works department or any other agency rather than engaging such a large number of persons at its own level. As far as engaging security staff to tide over the shortage of regular security staff is concerned, KU should have filled up these posts as there was no ban on filing these posts,’’ Higher education department officials said.
Haryana Governor and KU Chancellor, Kaptan Singh Solanki has ordered an inquiry against Lt Gen (retd) Sandhu under provisions of Kurukshetra University Act, 1986. Section 11 (1) (b) of the Kurukshetra University Act says the Chancellor may on the advice of the government cause an inquiry to be held in accordance with the principles of natural justice and remove the Vice-Chancellor from office if he is found on such inquiry to be a person patently unfit to be continued in such office.