TU Service Commission Chairman Chaitanya Sharma promoting nepotism: TU officials
KATHMANDU, May 13: Tribhuvan University Service Commission (TUSC) has promoted the university’s controversial registrar Dilli Ram Upreti, to a professor. A probe panel had found Registrar Upreti, among other officials, guilty of irregularities while issuing affiliations to private medical colleges a few years back, and had recommended to the government to take action against him.
According to TU officials, Registrar Upreti does not hold a PhD degree which is considered customary to be a professor at the university. At least 16 complaints have been registered at the TU Complaints Commission against the promotion system. TUSC chair Chaitanya Sharma, who had contested the last parliamentary election from the then CPN-UML but had lost it, has been blamed for spoiling the academic standards of the country’s oldest and biggest university.
The Medical Education Probe Commission (MEPC) headed by former justice Gauri Bahadur Karki, had recommended to the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on February 4 to suspend or take appropriate action against 43 individuals including officials of TU, Kathmandu University (KU), and Nepal Medical Council (NMC), and other experts for their alleged involvement in irregularities while issuing affiliations to private medical colleges. However, the government has neither publicized the MEPC report nor has it taken any action against the 43 individuals.
The MEPC, which was formed in April 2017 to investigate the irregularities in the medical education sector, submitted its report to the then prime minister Deuba on Feb 4, recommending various actions against the 43 individuals including TU Vice Chancellor Prof Tirtha Raj Khaniya, Rector Prof Sudha Tripathi and Registrar Upreti. The MEPC had recommended action against Prof Khaniya, Prof Tripathi and Upreti, who were appointed under the quotas of the Nepali Congress, the then CPN (Maoist Center) and the then CPN-UML, respectively, for their involvement in the irregularities.
TUSC recently published the results of the exams conducted for the vacancy announcement on September 15, 2018 for nearly 100 posts of professors. Mostly, the candidates close to the ruling Nepal Communist Party have been promoted to professors. “Even Registrar Upreti, who does not have a PhD degree, has been made a professor,” said TU officials.
Registrar Upreti said that there were five categories of evaluation including experience, performance, publication, PhD and seniority. “If anyone is dissatisfied, they can complain,” he said, adding that TUSC would know about the fairness of the results.
Dr Bhim Suwal, assistant dean of Humanities and one of the professorial candidates, said that he was the seniormost candidate but was disappointed by the results. “With international publications including in the journal of the American Geological Society, I was eligible for the post of professor. I am shocked by the results,” he said.
Instead of Dr Suwal, Mahendra Sharma, who was in the third position in terms of seniority and has only an MPhil degree, was promoted to a professor. Sharma is reportedly a relative of TUSC chair Sharma who promoted his wife Sita Sharma working at the TU Library from a temporary employee to a professor-level position in just eight days of his appointment three years ago. The results of the candidates who had taken the TUSC examinations at that time are yet to be published.
TUSC chair Sharma is reported to be protecting the illegal permanent appointment of Dambar Dhoj Chemjong, who is the head of the Central Department of Anthropology at TU. Sharma wrote a letter to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) in favor of Chemjong three weeks ago, according to TU sources.
Admitting that Mahendra Sharma is his relative, TUSC chair Sharma claimed that the results were based on merit and quality. “It is not necessary that PhD degree holders would be the best under all criteria of evaluation,” he said. “As far as the promotion of Sita Sharma and the results of other candidates is considered, at that time Sita was senior to me at TU while one candidate did not submit all required documents. So the results could not be published,” he added. “Registrar Upreti is eligible until action is taken against him as per the report.”
Regarding the controversial results, appointments and suspected irregularities, cases were recently filed at the CIAA and National Vigilance Center (NVC). However, the anti-graft bodies are unaware of these concerns because of the influence of the ruling party, said TU officials.
TU VC Khaniya refused to comment on all these concerns. “These issues are for the TUSC to consider,” he said.