- Bengal state cabinet will introduce a bill to appoint CM Mamata as Chancellor of state universities.
- CM will replace governor, said state Education Minister Bratya Basu.
- This proposal will soon be introduced as a bill in the assembly, he added.
West Bengal state cabinet on will introduce a bill to appoint Mamata Banerjee as the Chancellor of all state government universities in the state, replacing the Governor, said state Education Minister Bratya Basu.
He said that the state cabinet gave its nod to the proposal during the day. "Today, the state cabinet gave its consent to the proposal to make the chief minister the chancellor of all state-run universities in place of the governor. This proposal will soon be introduced as a bill in the assembly," Basu said.
The governor is at present the chancellor of the state-run universities.
The development comes at a time when the state government and the ruling Trinamool Congress is already in a fix over the ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe on the West Bengal School Service Commission (WBSSC) recruitment irregularities where two ministers of the state government have already been grilled by the central agency sleuths.
Till this report was filed there was no reaction from the Governor on this matter. However, the opposition parties have criticized the initiative.
BJP's state spokesman, Shamik Bhattacharya said that this is a direct attempt to have a control over the autonomy of the state universities. "Since the beginning the Chief Minister had been trying to run the state as an independent entity and hence, she has taken such a decision which no state government has done before. This is against tradition and convention," he said.
CPI-M Central Committee member and former leader of Left in the Assembly, Dr Sujan Chakraborty, contended that this initiative is aimed at having direct administrative and political control over the state universities.
"The decision has been taken at a time when roles of several state ministers and officers are in question because of rampant corruption in the education sector. This is complete politicisation of the functioning of the state agencies. On one hand, the Chief Minister is demanding complete autonomy for the central agencies, and on the other, she is trying to destroy the autonomous nature of the state universities," he said.
Educationists seemed to be divided over this development.
Educationist, political analyst and former Principal of the then Presidency College, Dr Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay said that the Chief Minister is the administrative head of the state and a political personality.
"So, the event of the Chief Minister being the Chancellor of the university means political interference in the independent functioning of the institutions. Traditionally and conventionally the Governors, by virtue of their chairs, had been the Chancellors of the state university. I do not find any reason to break away from that convention," he said.
Renowned historian and Sanskrit scholar, Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, however, welcomed the decision.
"Current West Bengal Governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar had been creating many obstacles for the state government to function properly. The Governor is holding back many files including those relating to appointment Vice Chancellors of universities. So, the state government had no other option but to take this decision. I welcome this move," he said.