The department of medical chemistry, which has four faculty members, could be left with two. The order issued by the Union ministry of chemical and fertilisers did not consider the enhancement of retirement age to either 62 years or 65 years as decided by the board of governors. The relieving letter, a copy of which is with TOI, mentioned that the BoG was not entitled to make such a decision. The issue of retirement age was being deliberated in the ministry for all Niper employees since last year.
Prof U C Banerjee, department of pharmaceutical and technology, and Prof Saranjit Singh, department of pharmaceutical and analysis, have been with Niper for more than 12 to 16 years. Sources said Prof Saranjit, who was the senior-most professor, would retire in some months and would officiate as the director till then. Banerjee's name was doing the rounds for the selection of Hajipur Niper director. The letter from the ministry stated, "NIPERs' act and statue did not provide any upper age limit of appointment, BoG's enhancement of age of retirement does not arise." Also, the ministry will review the NIPER act, regulations and ordinances and ensure that the statues were in position in the light of the latest development in IITs, IIMs, central universities by engaging experts.
Those who were sent the communication for immediate relieve on March 3 included Dr K K Bhutani; Dr A K Chakraborti, dean and head of department of medicinal chemistry; Prof K P Kartha, a professor in the department of medicinal chemistry and Prof P P Singh, department of pharmacology and toxicology.
Presently, Niper has 31 faculty members, including the director.