Downfall of a college
In its golden jubilee year, Dhemaji College has suffered a huge blow to its reputation. In a perennially flood-affected, backward district which still figures in the top bracket as far as High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and Higher Secondary (HS) results are concerned, Dhemaji College was recognised as ‘College with Potential for Excellence (CPE)’ by the University Grant Commission in 2010. And now that same UGC has decided to stop grants to the college, thanks to the corruption and velity of its administration. A damning report by a UGC inquiry committee has now laid bare the extent of misappropriation of UGC funds from 2008 to 2012 by college authorities. Forged utilisation certificates, submission of false vouchers, deliberate fudging of records and not inviting quotations for purchases — these are some of the malpractices detected in this institute of higher learning. The college received Rs 10.5 lakh from the UGC for Gandhian Studies of which 10.1 lakh was fraudulently shown to have been spent on resource persons. Another Rs 10 lakh obtained from the UGC for the Basic Scientific Research Centre in the college, was similarly gobbled up. UGC funds to the tune of several lakhs received for the Ambedkar Study Centre, Certificate Course in IT and book purchase — were systematically looted, leaving college students shamefully deprived. The Central Vigilance Commission is now probing the case. The same sort of misappropriation and loot may be going on in some other colleges in the State too. It is up to students, guardians and civil society to keep track of the funds and benefits earmarked for students, use the RTI route to demand information, and hold authorities accountable.