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Interview: 'Want to once again restore the grace of Allahabad University,' says VC Prof Rattan Lal Hangloo
After a long time, Allahabad University has had a Vice Chancellor who is known for his result-oriented approach. Currently, Professor Rattan Lal Hangloo, the newly appointed VC, is deeply engrossed in not only improving the educational standards but also in defining the future path of the university.

Sanjay Mishra, special correspondent of Merinews recently caught up with Vice Chancellor of Allahabad University Professor Rattan Lal Hangloo and discussed about the prevailing situation in the university and the proposed improvements to be carried out in the near future.

Here are excerpts from the interview:

Q: What challenges did you face when you joined Allahabad University as the Vice Chancellor?

Ans: I faced challenges in abundance, which exist even today. But I accepted them whole heartedly and got engrossed in my work. A lot has changed now and I am confident that at the pace that we are going, we shall soon aided by better facilities succeed in restoring the old culture and grace of the university.

I shall tell you about an incident from my initial days at the university. On my joining day at the North Hall of the university, when I was getting acquainted with people, I rue the fact that no one could hear me as the mic did not work, my voice was getting disbanded here and there. Moreover, the seating arrangement was also inadequate. On enquiring, I was informed that the North Hall was the biggest place in the university for public gatherings. So, the foremost challenge ahead of me was improving the infrastructure. Although crores of rupees had been spent, the infrastructure at the university was still in shambles.

Secondly, I often used to receive complaints from students that a lot of professors remained absent from classes. Academic calendar is the life line of any university, which unfortunately, did not exist in our university.

After this, I stressed upon the need for an academic calendar and development of infrastructure. We formed a committee on 'space and staff'. This was the first committee formed to organise space and staff, as I felt that whenever work load increased on people, they would complain about lack of staff.

Q: There has always been lack of staff at the university, even professors are less than required, what steps have you taken in this direction?

Ans: You have hit the nail on the head. You are absolutely right, there was and there still is lack of professors at the university. However, now the number of professors has increased to 290, although, 600 posts still lie vacant. We are speeding up efforts to fill those vacant positions.

Within two months of my joining, advertisements were issued inviting applications and the process for appointments also started. We even appointed 2-4 people but later, a few people approached courts and we had to re-issue advertisements. However, the UGC declined and asked us to include the 2016 circular. It was only on August 30 that we were able to publish fresh advertisements inviting online applications from eligible candidates from September 5 onwards.

I would also like to mention here that the entire process of appointments would be totally transparent and qualification would be given preference. The applying candidates should not harbour any misconceptions as neither bribery nor nepotism will help them in getting selected. The key to getting appointed is merit and nothing else. Until now we had been hiring teaching staff on contract basis, but I hope that soon this void would be filled after more professors are appointed.

Q: Sir, I'm sure you would have prepared a blueprint for improvement of the university, are things working according to plan or you are still struggling due to practical problems?

Ans: You see, in such a large institution, where the entire system is in disarray, it's obvious that problems would crop up. But that doesn't mean that one abandones the reforms process and meekly surrenders to problems. When I took steps towards development of the university, I realised that the entire system was under the shackles of widespread corruption. Misappropriation of funds and scams were going on in a colossal way where hundreds of crore rupees had been embezzled. 

Rupees nine crore twelve lakhs and eleven thousand had been siphoned off from the salary account alone. Rupees forty five crore was pending in the loan advance account and over rupees two hundred crore had been withdrawn after jute fixation. We first wrote to the President of India and later, wrote another letter to the Prime Minister, also including witness accounts.

Now those people who shall face enquiry have turned my adversaries. They are trying every trick in the bag so that the Vice Chancellor gets scared and quits. They are using their money power and influence to get me removed so that they get saved from the probe and can continue their unscrupulous practices. But I am undeterred. Until I'm here, I won't allow corruption. I have started taking action on my lining and have so far recovered rupees seven crore. Hopefully, our actions will yield positive results. Moreover, since our Prime Minister is working on zero tolerance policy towards corruption, we should also join in his campaign.

Q: There are allegations against you that initially you had kept those people in your core team who were already accused of corruption, what would you say on that?

Ans: You see, if you try to do something good you will come across people who would try to create hurdles in your way. They will find shortcomings in your work and raise unnecessary questions. However, you will seldom come across people who raise genuine questions, give opinion and discuss important issue so that working can be improved.

As far as the university is concerned, no matter whom I appoint, people of the university will raise questions. Obviously those people who do not want to work, directly or indirectly cause interruption in other's work by way of protests, accusations and agitations. My job is to transform the Central University of Allahabad, and I am trying to do it with full sincerity. I am confident that with the cooperation of the government and the university staff and students, I will be able to bring back the lost prestige.

Q: After being elevated to the status of a central university, although there is no shortage of funds, but still the university lacks faculty, hostel, office premises etc on campus just like other central universities, aren't you facing difficulty?

Ans: Absolutely, we do. We are working towards them. We have formed a committee which has written to MHRD to allot us 2000 acres of land so that the old university virtually becomes a central university. When Allahabad University became a central university, Prof Harshe was made its Vice Chancellor. But the problem is that he had no prior experience of this kind of a job and the people started intimidating him. By lobbying, scaring and raising caste equations people forced him into doing scandalous deeds. And now, mending his mistakes is consuming a lot of my time. Right from fake employees to pending matters, problems were towering. You can imagine that not even a single employee had been confirmed in the last 40 years. We issued confirmation orders to 100 people. We also ascertained the eligibility criteria for professors.

Actually, there should be a structure for central universities which was never planned here. One day on visiting the accounts department, I learned that there were more than the required number of employees over there. I said that in this age of digitalization why are we stressing so much upon manual system. I immediately issued orders to send excess employees to other departments so that along with usage of e-technology man power can also be efficiently utilized. 

Here, the consolidation which should have taken place was not done. Even the transaction audit was not carried out. In this connection, we have written letters to the President and the CAG.

In fact, after taking over the work, when I saw the prevailing situation, only then I realised why our former Vice-Chancellor could not function properly. In fact, no one was ready to land in this corruption and cluster muddle. Now you might have understood that in what unsettling conditions I took charge. But I had decided that for this very popular and prestigious university of our country, I would work in any situation.

Q: Just recently you got the hostels just like it is done in BHU and JNU after academic examinations, however, many students are against this and argue that their culture is different, here most students prepare for civil examination so such an arrangement is inappropriate, what's your take on this?

Ans: Look, this is just a matter of saying. In which book is it written that a student can become an IAS only by always remaining in the hostel? Many of our JNU classmates are in administrative services. If such was the case, no JNU student would have ever become an IAS.  Anyway, the hostel is vacated for some time only, and in such times, one can either go home or rent a room for studying.

As far as vacating the hostels is concerned, we had been receiving a lot of complaints of anti-social elements entering the hostel premises and of drugs being consumed. When the hostels were vacated, shocking revelations came to light. The entire exercise of vacating the hostel was videographed.

During the raid at Tarachand Hostel, the police recovered material for making bombs and country-made pistols. You will be shocked to know that the police was even fired upon during the hostel raid. Fifty six students were arrested, out of which, unfortunately, 22 were our students. In Holland Hall, 6 rooms had been rented out. In Sir Sunder Lal Dom one sahab had rented out 3 rooms. However, in Tarachand Hostel, 9 rooms had been let out on rent.  

After washout, the university administration has taken possession of all the hostels. The authorities will try to ensure that a mess functions in every hostel. From now on, only eligible students would be given entry in hostels.

Q: Sir, what is status of classrooms in the university?

Ans: This is a very good question. We have been given an OBC quota. But according to me, the OBC quota should be given only when the infrastructure is in place. Now here the classrooms are old, so space constraints are bound to arise. Take for example the history department, which was built when each class had 15-20 students. But now classes have over 200 students. What to do under such circumstances? Then we started developing infrastructure. We constructed a separate computer lab and cabin for teachers so that more space could be created for the boys. The FCI building which was due to be completed in 2009 is yet to be officially handed over to us. In view of lack of space teachers were asked to takeover the complete building and create classrooms so that the studies do not suffer.

Many more construction projects are coming up like the Bhattacharya Auditorium, where a large classroom can be run. As a result science students have now become comfortable. In the university's Department of Economics, a large hall has been constructed where a class for at least 200 students can be held. So development is going on but still, a new campus is required for a new prospective.

If the Allahabad University has to survive, then we will have to make the old campus into new. Secondly, we wll have to segregate UG and PG.

Since we have so many colleges, UG students should be given admission in them as the PG teachers who come to our university cannot pay attention to research.

For university research we can say that we can proudly say that we had the likes of Firaq Gorakhpuri as our alumni. During that time there was plenty of time for research and some gifted individuals made good use of it. But the situation in departments is such that be it economics, Hindi or history, each section has over 200 students. Now we also do not have teachers in this ratio. To correct this situation more teachers are required so that more sections can be created. We are doing work at the fastest possible pace at many fronts simultaneously. In time, good results will also come.

Q: Allahabad University has always been referred to as the Oxford of the East, what should we call it today, how do you look at it?

Ans: Calling this university Oxford of the East is a thing of the past, during the times when India was under British rule and the VC of the university was a Britisher. I would not say so today. But now India is a free country which is fast progressing, so there's no reason why the university should be called Oxford of the East. I find Allahabad University much ahead of Oxford. Can Oxford produce a Jaishankar Prasad, a Firaq Gorakhpuri or a Mahadevi Verma… something which could happen only at Allahabad University. We don't have ample opportunities or privileges. Although we have limited resources, we have unlimited talent and ingenuity. 

Q: Is the role of students' unions constructive or destructive?

Look, the role of a students' union is to provide representation to the university students and take up issues of their interest. To ensure that there is not interruption in their education. At the same time a students' union also plays the role of keeping the university administration alert by partnering with the Vice Chancellor. Such unions also organise seminars, sports & cultural events etc. from time to time.

But these are things of the past now. These days student leaders greatly lack positive thinking. Just in my early days as the VC, one girl came to me to told me that her name was Richa Singh and she was president of students' union. The next a boy came and told me that sir,  she is not the president, I am. She has become the president through unscrupulous means and a court case is pending on in this connection. However, I said that whoever has been appointed by the university's officer in-charge (election) will be considered as the president. 

After two-three both the both presidents came back with some bills. But surprisingly, both opponents this time appeared to be in connivance when bills were concerned. Most of the bills were fake. On enquiring, I was told that the union people do it every year. I told them that I do not fear for my job, and would rather quit than to pay bills raised with the intention of pilfering. The bills were worth Rs 11 lakh. But if such bills are not passed, it is only we who are blamed. In fact, the University's students' union has lost its dignity. 

On this August 28 on the occasion of the birthday of Lal Padmadhar, on whose name the students' union house has been named, we had arranged a programme and also invited Padmadhar's family members. However, a few expelled members of the union reached there and started creating ruckus. They started sloganeering and shouting 'murdabad'. This is the height of insensitivity when sloganeering is being done instead of paying homage to a leader. That's why I would say that the role of unions is completely destructive.

Q: What are your future plans?

Ans: Well, the plans are both academic and administrative. To give students a better environment in which they can get better education and open their talents. I want to restore the grace of Allahabad University.

Q: What is your message for aspiring students?

Ans: The world needs human resources from India, this is an opportunity for you, obtain a degree from here and become part of your country's success.

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Manoj Raghuvanshi
प्रो. हांगलू झूठ बोल रहे है | कुलपति के पद पर बैठे व्यक्ति के लिए इस तरह अपनी कमियों को छुपाने के लिए इंटरव्यू करवाकर झूठ बोलने से ज्यादा शर्मनाक कुछ नहीं हो सकता | प्रो. हांगलू चुन-चुन कर भ्रस्ट लोगों को प्रशासनिक पदों पर बैठाते है ताकि वो रबर स्टाम्प की तरह काम करते रहे | कोई भी पुराना रिकॉर्ड निकाल कर देख सकता है की नरेंद्र शुक्ल (वर्तमान रजिस्ट्रार) की नियुक्ति कैसे हुई थी | जहाँ तक वित्तीय अनियमितताओं की बात है प्रो. हांगलू के कार्यकाल में सबसे ज्यादा घपले बाजी हुई है | ये कितना शर्मनाक है, विश्वविद्यालय के लिए भी और मोदी सरकार के लिए भी
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