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Food for thought

THE ONLY canteen on the Khandwa Road campus of Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalya (DAVV) is witnessing increased student activity these days.

india Updated: Dec 28, 2006 12:37 IST

THE ONLY canteen on the Khandwa Road campus of Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalya (DAVV) is witnessing increased student activity these days.

The fact struck the university officials when they pondered over the phenomenon in the light of most students being busy with exams and the others on leave during the winter break.

Much brain raking resulted in a most uncommon explanation. It is learnt that Vice-Chancellor Dr Rajkamal has ordered that the university canteen shall remain closed during class hours from January.

The new dictum coming into force in the New Year has sent the students accustomed to spending most of their time in the canteen instead of the classroom into a tizzy.

Feeling nostalgic and gripped with fear of losing their common bunking destination they have started devoting as much time as possible to the canteen. Moreover, most students come from small towns and villages and can hardly distinguish between a roadside eatery serving a few items to a canteen whipping up delicacies on demand.

Those bitten by the romance bug too find it a refuge where they can spend hours together sipping a cup of tea in the name of discussing notes.

Interestingly enough, the canteen operated from a ramshackle premises, serves ordinary little tidbits and has been asked by the university administration on several occasions to improve the quality of the products. However, quality check remains a distant dream. 

In a nutshell, the present canteen can hardly be called a ‘canteen’ in the proper sense and that too when one thinks of it in the context of the four-star rating that the DAVV has.

Several V-C s in the past tried to close the canteen and open a new one but their ideas could never materialise  and the canteen administration having backing of petty goon cum politicians managed to hold sway. Former V-C CS Chaddha went so far as to draw plans for a new canteen but his sudden ouster gave a fresh lease of life to the canteen. The new order now regarding the timing has seems to be the ‘beginning of the end’ of the canteen.

B.Ed albatross
It is now the turn of the Higher Education Department to face the heat in the B Ed mess. Joint Director (Indore and Ujjain divisions) Dr NK Dad was recently bombarded with the suicide threat by all 70 students of Maharshi Institute. The irate students held heated protests at his office recently demanding a respite by adjustment in other colleges for examination purpose.

The students blamed Dr Dad for reneging on his promise of taking action against their college administration guilty of giving admission without having accreditation from the National Council for Training and Education (NCTE) and No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Higher Education department, taking extra fees and keeping the students in the dark.

The university had drawn much flak over the issue when top officials, including the V-C could not come out clean on the B Ed issue. Leave alone their position, the officials could not even state the exact number of B Ed colleges under the university. Later the university was plagued by incessant demonstrations by either the students or the college management in their bid to obtain affiliation.

The university officials who had constantly been targeted at all levels ranging from their personal interest to graft charges in granting affiliation to undeserving colleges have heaved a sigh of relief over  this change. University corridors are abuzz with talks of this albatross being transferred to the neck of the department after V-C Dr Rajkamal washed his hands of the matter saying the ball lay in the court of education department.

Turning heat on HoDs
AFTER EMPLOYEES and Professors of DAVV, it is now the turn of the heads of Departments (HoDs) to face the music. V-C Dr Rajkamal has ordered a freeze in increments until they submit a report of taking alternate classes in lieu of leave. Dr Rajkamal feeling bitter over the way the HoDs were making a mockery of a direct order from him made in this regard lamented, “The HoDs are responsible for the working of the entire department and if they are not serious about their work then none in their department should be blamed for apathy towards work”.

The frustration and anger felt by Dr Rajkamal can be gauged from the fact that one of the HoDs on being questioned by the V-C in this matter gave a reply through e-mail, the gist of which was found highly unprofessional. Dr Rajkamal, in a retaliatory move, has dispatched letters to all HoDs asking for details on number of classes taken by them along with date and timing to cover up loss of class hours by their remaining absent for various reasons.

The same information has also been asked for their staff and the HoDs have been asked to maintain a timetable of classes accompanied by sign of the professor. Dr Rajkamal feels that this kind of irresponsibility led to opposition of his move of introducing the system of students evaluating their teachers.