In a fresh salvo at the TMC government in West Bengal, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar has said there is a “policy paralysis” in the State’s higher education system, and that he is not consulted in the affairs of universities despite being the chancellor.
Dhankhar also said that a “black hole” exists in the West Bengal’s higher education ministry in terms of communication with him.
The Governor said he was “pained” at not being consulted over the recent appointment of the vice-chancellor of Sanskrit College and University in the city.
“In the ministry of higher education, there is a black hole in terms of communication with the chancellor. There is a policy paralysis and I am worried about it. I am doing everything under the sun to see that the education scenario in the universities improves,” Dhankhar told PTI in an interview.
Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with the state government on a number of issues since assuming charge in July.
“I am pained when the vice-chancellor of Sanskrit University is appointed without consulting the Governor who is also its chancellor. There was no information to me on this and that is (a) very sorry (state of affairs). The issue is receiving my attention… I am sure things will look up,” he said.
Asked if he held the state’s Education Minister Partha Chatterjee responsible for the situation, he said the issue is not about individual accountability.
“It is not a matter of an individual minister but of the council of ministers headed by the chief minister,” the Governor said.
Dhankhar had on September 19 rushed to Jadavpur University to “rescue” Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who was gheraoed by a section of its students.
Following the incident, he had laid out a road map for the universities and said they should neither be treated as departments of the state government nor as extension of the Raj Bhavan.
The functioning of varsities should be left to the vice-chancellor, the chancellor, and bodies formed by the university statute, he had said.
Earlier this month, Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had asked vice-chancellors of universities not to bow to pressures or come under any influence as they were heads of autonomous institutions.
Banerjee has on several occasions charged Dhankhar of being a “BJP mouthpiece at the Raj Bhawan”.
The Governor, in the interview on Friday, also criticised the role of the media and questioned its “silence” on the alleged misconduct by the state government.
“It is for the first time in history that such kind of conduct is being exhibited by the state government and there is silence in the media on it. More silence on the point would make it silence forever,” Dhankhar said.
Dhankhar, when asked if there is any political pressure on the media in the State, pointed out to the coverage given to reactions by ministers and Trinamool Congress leaders against his statements.
“If I make a huge statement, the coverage is not that much but the reaction to it is prominent. Sometimes people call me asking what was the statement I had issued against which such an elaborative reaction was given. I think not a single journalist will disagree with me.