Aizawl: Terming the recent development at ICFAI University, Mizoram as handiwork of some vested interest group in the university, the management of the insitution said that the “irrational” demands were made by some people to put pressure on the state government to take over the university.

The authorities in ICFAI University Mizoram have also requested for cooperation from its students, parents and employees to start regular academic activities and admissions for ensuing academic year.

Meanwhile, problems faced by ICFAI University have been resolved and classes have resumed from August 28, 2019, the university management claimed.

“Some vested interest group in the university resorted to irrational demands and activities hampering the operations of the university since March 28, 2019 with an ulterior objective of bringing pressure on the state government to take over the university,” the registrar of ICFAI University Mizoram said in a press statement sent to EastMojo.

Announcing that the demands of the agitating groups were thoroughly inquired into by the highest authorities of the state government followed by a few rounds of joint meetings with all concerned, the university registrar further said that the state government on August 16 made it clear that the management of the university has been acting well within their powers and the question of taking over the university by the state government doesn’t arise.

In the meantime some parents and their wards pursuing studies in the University have expressed unhappiness over the events leading to disruption of their studies due to activities of a few. “The university authorities are keen to start regular academic activities and admissions for ensuing academic year and requested the students and parents and employees for their cooperation,” the university registrar added.

On August 8, EastMojo had reported that the current status at ICFAI University Mizoram is grim as employees were reportedly not been paid for three months despite carrying out their duties. As of July 30 this year, five faculty members, including campus head and deputy controller of examinations, have been served termination notices citing ‘operational reasons’, the EastMojo report said.

EastMojo also reported on the alleged ongoing tussle between faculty of ICFAI Mizoram and ICFAI Society, Hyderabad.

Refuting the allegations, the university registrar clarified: “The news report as seen by the public is creating unnecessary confusion in the minds of parents and students, particularly during this time of admissions.”

Meanwhile, informing that the university is entirely self-financed and does not receive any grant or aid either from the state government or the Central government, Sudhakar Rao, director (branding) of the university, said that the only source of income for the university is the fee collected from students.

“Even after passage of more than a decade, the university has not reached self-sufficient stage in terms of its revenue till date. In fact, the ICFAI Society, Hyderabad is arranging necessary funds by way of refundable loan through bank and its own resources to meet the huge revenue deficit every year,” Rao said.

Despite financial crunch being faced by the university, students belonging to the state of Mizoram are being provided major concession in fees compared to the amount payable by non-domicile students. Further, 33% of students are also being offered merit based scholarships, the director (branding) claimed.

“It is only after a very careful evaluation that the university authorities revised the student fee structure last year after a gap of four years, which is applicable to the students admitted from academic year 2018-19 onwards. The revised fee structure has been kept at a reasonable rate commensurate with the quality of infrastructure, facilities and increase in cost of operations. New batch of students admitted in the academic year 2018-19 have started paying the fee as per the revised fee structure without any reservations. The increase of fee, however, does not affect in any manner the students who are already enrolled and pursuing the programmes prior to the academic year 2018-19,” the director said.

Claiming that during the end of March, 2019, some “misinformed and misguided” students of IU Mizoram started an agitation against the sponsor — the ICFAI Society, Hyderabad demanding lowering of fees with the active aid and instigation of some “vested interest” groups belonging to both staff members and an outside students union, Rao further said that the staff members’ demand included payment of UGC Scales as per 7th Pay Commission.

“This was later followed by making several irrational demands and resorting to disruptive activities affecting the operations of the University with an ulterior objective of bringing pressure on the state government to take over the University. In the process serious attempts have been made against the ICFAI University to tarnish its otherwise well reputed name and fame. While addressing the agitating students and staff who met him during first week of April, 2019, the chief minister, Mizoram had been categorical in stating that the Government of Mizoram will not be taking over the University and all concerned must ensure smooth functioning of the University,” Rao added.

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Earlier, the state government constituted a committee headed by the chief secretary to the Government of Mizoram to inquire into the matter.

However, on August 6, 2019, the agitators indulged in unlawful acts of locking up forcibly the office rooms of the VC, registrar and additional registrar of the university and turning it into an issue concerning law and order, he claimed.

Immediately, chief secretary to the state government convened a meeting on August 16, 2019 and he made it amply clear to the representatives of university staff that the university authorities have been acting well within their powers. He further clarified that the pay related rules applicable to a government-funded university or college employees are not applicable to a self-financed private university.

“The chief secretary to the state government also informed that he examined the cash inflow and expenditure of the ICFAI University, Mizoram and found no iota of truth in the allegations of grave financial irregularities by the University. He has further made clear the question of the state government taking over the University does not arise,” the director (branding) of the university said, adding: “The university representatives on the same day, i.e., August 16 apprised Dr R Lalthangliana, Mizoram minister for higher and technical education, on the actual state of affairs in the university and requested him to advice the agitating students and employees to attend classes and resume respective duties to bring back normalcy in the university so that the admission process can start immediately. The Minister has agreed to the request positively.”

Dr C Dothanga, vice-chancellor in-charge and other officials of the University are in touch with various parents of the students from different localities, different student organisations, etc, and all of them want the university programmes to run smoothly, said Rao.

“With the cooperation of students and the employees, the university can achieve the required growth to fulfill all their aspirations and serve the interests of the state of Mizoram and it is expected that the university will start functioning normally very soon,” Rao added.

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