Due to the government’s failure to appoint officials in three new universities and a medical college that the government had agreed to setup in early 2010, millions of rupees allocated to them is likely to be frozen even this year. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has allocated about Rs 240 million for Far Western University (FWU), Kanchanpur; Mid Western University (MWU), Surkhet; Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU), Chitwan and Far Western Medical College.
Though the government in 2010 decided to establish these institutions of higher education, it has not yet appointed top officials in them. Due to the absence of officials, including vice chancellor, rector and registrar, the government’s bid to establish these Universities had not materalised even two years after the decision was made.
The UGC has allocated Rs 80 million for FWU- Rs 60 million for developing infrastructure and Rs 20 Million for administrative expenses-while Rs 50 million has been allocated each for MWU and AFU out of which each can spend Rs 30 million for the development of physical infrastructure and Rs 20 million for administrative operation. Similarly, the allotment of the Medical College is about Rs 60 million.
The government has to appoint officials in these institutions within this fiscal year to prevent the budget from freezing. Last year over 150 million was frozen due to the lack of officials. “A huge amount of money remained unused last year and it seems to recur this year as well”, Devendra Rawal, the communication officer at UGC, said.
Meanwhile, the UCPN (Maoist)-aligned National Professors’ Association on May 19 padlocked UGC, saying that the government unilaterally appointed officials in it.
Takma KC, the president of the association, said they were compelled to padlock UGC as the government appointed new officials without consulting them. The cabinet on May 16, appointed Ganesh Man Gurung and Bhola Pokhrel at the chairperson and member-secretary of UGC, respectively. Both of them are members of the UML-aligned union.
(Source: The Kathmandu Post, News by Binod Ghimire)