The exposure on research goof-up in Jammu University speaks volumes about financial and academic mess. The LG Manoj Sinha who also is Chancellor of JU has launched crusade against corruption and this is a fit case for the intervention of Raj Bhawan when our UT is celebrating Anti Corruption week with much fan fare, opined noted Anti Corruption crusader Prof. S.K.Bhalla.
JAMMU: Wastage of public exchequer worth several crores with zero report card on a prestigious project sponsored by Department of Science and Technology (DST), government of India has raised a serious question mark on scientific temperament of some faculty members in Jammu University.
Raising objections on invisible contribution of JU on inter university consortium of project on ‘Cryosphere and Climate Change’, the audit team of CAG vide letter bearing No AMG-I/J-05/PA/2022-23/HM-168 dated 07/10/2022 has directed the Registrar to furnish on a top priority basis progress report and details of work with documentary evidence of activities for 5 years on the project in question carried out by the Institute of Himalayan Glaciology, Department of Geology, JU.
With life span of 5 years Rs 18 crores was allocated by the DST in the year 2014 for Inter University Consortium project comprising four varsities including JNU, Sikkim University, Kashmir University and Jammu University out of which JU was given Rs 4 crores.
Initially, Prof. R.K.Ganjoo was appointed as Principal Investigator (PI) of the project and later in the year 2015 citing deterioration of health he resigned and thus paving way for Prof. Pankaj. Kumar. Srivastava.
“Despite objections raised by several faculty member of Geology department over nomination of Prof. Srivastava as PI for prestigious project citing his lack of expertise in the required field, the then VC of JU Prof. R.D.Sharma on the strong lobbying of the then VC of KU Prof. Talat Ahmad approved name of Prof. Srivastava as PI,” alleged reliable sources in JU.
Responding to the communication of CAG office, the Deputy Registrar (Internal Audit) of JU vide its letter No JU/IA/22/1635-36 dated 13/10/2022 has asked the HoD, Geology to furnish information in two sets on urgent basis positively in 2 days.
Ironically, the incumbent HoD of Geology Prof. Rajnikant till date has not been able to furnish the report sought by CAG office as the concerned PI of the project Prof. Srivastava, who also happen to be President of Jammu University Teachers Association (JUTA) is playing hide and seek on the matter.
The life span of the project has lapsed on 2019 and there is no significant contribution of those manning the project as PI for 5 years, alleged a faculty member of Geology department.
Even the machine worth Rs 1.5 crores which was purchased out of allocated funds is lying defunct since its inception. It is an appropriate case of misuse of public exchequers on the name of ghost research work and needs a thorough probe by the premier investigation agency to unearth the scandals lying in the cupboard of JU, demanded a faculty member of JU.
The gravity of the matter in the concerned project can be gauged from the fact that a senior most Professor of Geology in JU namely Prof. Avtar Singh Jasrotia has dashed two successive missives to the VC of Jammu University Prof. Umesh Rai highlighting bungling in the project and the questionable role of Prof P.K.Srivastava and has demanded a probe to fix responsibility for massive loss.
In a letter to VC, Prof. Jasrotia has said that backing out by Prof. Srivastava on giving reply to objections raised by CAG itself shows that the concerned is abdicating from his responsibility after promptly agreeing to be PI of the prestigious project. “As PI, Prof. Srivastav accepted the assets and liabilities of the project and bound to make scientific contribution on Glaciology. Unfortunately, he did not make any academic contribution despite purchasing an instrument worth Rs 1.5 crore for the purpose and thus it is a glaring case of wasteful expenditure with zero contribution” reads the letter.
Demanding an academic audit of the said research project so as to evaluate the academic contribution of Prof. Srivastava, Prof. Singh’s letter further reads “Running away from replying to half-margin raised by CAG team shows Prof. Srivastava is exhibiting his irresponsibility which is not only denting the image of department of Geology but the entire teaching fraternity as well as the Jammu University”.
Despite our repeated calls, Prof. Pankaj Srivastava did not respond. However, while responding to our message on whatsapp, he said “Will call you tomorrow”. Further clarifying on the matter he said “Half margin is pertaining to Institute of Glaciology which was headed by Prof. R.K.Ganjoo as Director till his retirement. The post remained vacant till date and I was never part of this institute. Pertaining to carbon dating instrument purchased under project for Rs 1.5 crores is in working condition and students are working on it”.
Interestingly, as PI the financial power of funds allotted by DST for project remained with Prof. Srivastava besides he also remained as HoD of Geology w.e.f 2016 to 2019. The University Council between the year 2012-13 has merged the Institute of Glaciology with Department of Geology therein assigning only supervisory role to HoD for research projects of Institute of Glaciology.
During the crucial period of project Prof. Srivastava was acting as HoD of Geology besides PI of the prestigious project. Now, why he is evasive on the issue at stake is a million dollar question.
When JK Global News tried to contact Prof. Srivastava to seek his clarification on the above facts, he remained elusive.