Hunt on for 4th V-C, in just 5 years in Indian Maritime University
—IMU responsible for glut of unemployed cadets
The finalising of broad criteria is taking shape and by next month, the process for selecting a new Vice-Chancellor for Indian Maritime University, a Central University under the Union Ministry of Shipping, would begin, it is reliably learnt.
According to latest Media reports, the President’s office has approved a three-member panel for the selection of a new V-C for IMU and the process is likely to begin after Aug. 15.
Besides Mr. R. Manohar, former Secretary of Inland Water Transport, Dr. R. Sivaraman, a retired professor of Madras Medical College, and Mr. S. Muthukumaran, former Vice-Chancellor of Bharathidasan University, are the three-member new V-C search panel.
However, it is not clear why the President’s office has given its nod for searching a new V-C for IMU, when the incumbent, Capt. Mukesh Baveja, an experienced hand among the maritime academicians, has just started as the third administrator of the institution in March this year.
Capt. Baveja succeeded Prof. Raghuram, another well-known academician from the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, who put in his paper due to differences with the Union Shipping Ministry over appointment of permanent faculty for the growing institution.
It is learnt from reliable sources that once the new V-C emerges after thorough scrutiny, Capt. Baveja, who is now continuing his duties (besides V-C) as Head of Indian National Database of Seafarers (INDoS) Cell, Mumbai, and Director (in-charge) of Kandla Port campus, is likely to be moved out to either of his other responsibilities.
It is stated in Media reports that Mr. Sivaraman, one of the members in the search panel, was quoted as saying that the selection process would be transparent and would follow the norms set by the UGC and IMU Acts.
When the Government of India through a Parliament Act in 2008 formed the exclusive university for maritime education and training (MET) and made Chennai its headquarters, Mr. P. Vijayan, who was then Director of National Maritime Academy, Chennai, was made the Vice-Chancellor of the university for a three- year term.
Sources said that during Mr. Vijayan’s stint as V-C, there were several allegations that he was instrumental in giving IMU’s nod for mushrooming of private institutes sans good facilities, adequate infrastructure and fully qualified teaching faculty.
Experts also charged that the IMU management has diluted the quality of maritime education and training across the country and created a pool of unemployed youths who had completed Diploma in Nautical Sciences (DNS), without the mandatory sea-time training.
Besides, there were also allegations of irregularities in the admission process in 2009 when Mr. Vijayan was at the helm. Meanwhile, the CBI registered a case of owning disproportionate assets against Mr. Vijayan and searched the IMU campus in Uthandi, near Chennai, his house in connection with the case.
As the IMU earned disgrace among the student community as well as in the national media due to its VC, the Shipping Ministry had decided to go for a new candidate as V-C and selected Prof. Raghuram as its second administrator.
Mr. Vijayan, the Director of IMU’s Chennai campus (left) and Prof. Raghuram, fmr VC.
However, he also resigned in short time and Capt. Baveja became the third V-C of the institution.
Though it is unclear whether the CBI is still continuing with the case against Mr. Vijayan, he is continuing as the Director of IMU’s Chennai campus. When Sagar Sandesh tried to meet Mr. Vijayan in person or to contact him on phone, he refused to respond claiming that “he is busy on official work.”
It may be mentioned here that after the resignation of Prof. Raghuram, IMU’s Registrar also resigned in quick succession.