JORHAT, Oct 14: In another ad hoc arrangement for the Assam Women’s University here, the Director of Research (Agri) and in-charge vice chancellor of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) Dr Ashok Bhattacharyya has been asked by the Governor to assume temporary charge as vice chancellor of Assam Women’s University.
Dr Bhattacharyya took charge from AAU VC KM Bujarbaruah on August 1, 2019 as in charge VC of AAU. Dr Bidyut Chandan Deka, director, ICAR- ATARI, Umiam, Meghalaya, has been appointed as new vice chancellor of AAU and he will soon take charge from Dr Bhattacharyya.
Dr Bhattacharyya said that he had received a letter from Governor Jagdish Mukhi who is the chancellor of AWU, in which he had been directed to head the AWU as acting vice chancellor till further orders and to accept the resignation of the incumbent vice chancellor Professor Malinee Goswami.
Assam Women’s University’s first vice chancellor Professor Goswami had just about completed a year of her tenure before she resigned. Prof. Goswami, former head of the department, Gauhati University was appointed as the VC of AWU by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was the then chancellor of the university on September 12.
She had assumed charge on September 17, 2019 but was on leave for most part of September this year due to reported ill health of her spouse.
Goswami told this correspondent that she had tendered her resignation quite some time back but that it had not been accepted.
“The resignation was most likely not accepted as there were some works which needed to be disposed of,” she said.
As to why she was resigning, Goswami said that there was not one reason but several reasons, but refused to elaborate.
Prior to Dr Goswami’s appointment, a stop gap arrangement which continued for six years, being made with the then Vice chancellor of AAU KM Bujarbaruah, being appointed as mentor of Assam Women’s University.
The University, the first women’s university in the Northeast, was established by the Assam Women’s University Act, 2013 (XXII of 2013) by the Assam government.
In 2018, the University courted controversy when students of the University took to the streets demanding the appointment of permanent VC and six other top posts which had been lying vacant since inception, holding of convocations, etc.
The students’ movement garnered support from almost all the organisations and other universities in the state and from other parts of the country including AASU, AJYCP, KMSS, SFI and others, till it became a state wide agitation.
The controversy came to a head when education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma hinted in the state Assembly that the University would be downgraded into an institute, that the mentor heading a university was not legal nor were the pass certificates signed by him.
The girls called off the agitation when AASU rallied behind the students and speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami who is also Jorhat MLA assured the students that the seven vacant posts would be filled up and status quo of the university would be maintained.
However, only three posts were filled up and seven years on, teachers are still appointed on ad hoc basis.