Appointment Scandal at VCSG Horticulture University, Bharsar

Appointment Scandal at VCSG Horticulture University, Bharsar

Thalisain : Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali Uttarakhand Horticulture and Forestry University in Bharsar, India, was rocked by controversy in 2018 after details emerged of appointments made against regulations for the positions of Professor, Associate Professor, and Assistant Professor. The then-Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Chandra Mohan Sharma, appointed close associates to these positions, contravening University Statutes, University Grants Commission (UGC), and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) regulations.

The appointments made by Prof. Sharma were investigated by a comprehensive inquiry commissioned by the then Garhwal Commissioner and current Agriculture Secretary Dr. B.B.R.C. This investigation revealed that many of the appointed professors, co-professors, and assistant professors did not possess the required educational qualifications set by the UGC and ICAR. Most of them lacked Master’s and PhD degrees in the subjects they were appointed to teach.

The recruitment process for the appointments was also in violation of the University Statutes, as the officiating Vice-Chancellor had no authority to make regular appointments. A few days after the detailed advertisement for recruitment to the positions was published, the university released another letter that included the term “allied science” without the recommendation and approval of the University Academic Council. This inclusion allowed candidates who did not meet the minimum educational qualification to apply, which is clearly in violation of the standards mandated by the UGC and ICAR.

The appointments made by Prof. Sharma also included his favorite research students Dr. V.P. Khanduri and Dr. S.P. Sati. Both were given the additional charge of Registrar, even though they were candidates in the same recruitment case. Dr. Khanduri had earlier come to Forestry College, Ranichauri on deputation without taking the recommendation and approval of the government. Additionally, he resigned from the post of Registrar just before appearing for the interview for the post of Professor Silviculture.

Out of three applicants for the position of Professor Forest Promotion, only Dr. V.P. Khanduri was eligible. The other two applicants did not meet the desirable qualification, i.e. experience of guiding PhD students. All candidates appointed to the positions of Professor and Associate Professor were the only candidates in their respective subjects, which is a violation of regulations that require a minimum of three qualified candidates for direct recruitment to regular positions in the university.

Despite the controversy surrounding his appointment, Dr. Khanduri currently holds the post of Dean and Head of the Department of Forestry College. The appointments made by Prof. Sharma are currently under consideration in the Hon’ble High Court.


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