Sunday, 14 February 2016

Bhutani cries fund crunch at institute

 | TNN | Feb 14, 2016, 12.22 PM IST
NIPER is an institute of national importance that is governed by its Act which allows the board of governors for major decisions, including the release of grants and recruitment of manpower. "However, since June 2014, there is no such authority. We had communicated this to the ministry, but nothing happened. This month we received a communique from the government to start the mechanism for activation of the board of governors," said Bhutani.

Chandigarh: Niper officiating director K K Bhutani on Saturday highlighted the crunch of funds in his institute, saying there has been no release of funds for the current 12th five year plan. "The institute is running with obsolete equipment purchased since 1998 owing to the non-release of funds. Out of Rs 250 crore approved grants for the 12th five year plan, the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers allocated Rs9.97 crore, which is yet to be released for 2015-17. Bhutani expressed his inability to support his statements with documents as his office was sealed by the CBI on Friday.

The institute still planned to celebrate its silver jubilee this Monday. "The show must go on, despite all disruptive forces. I will emerge clean," said Bhutani.

When he was questioned about the non-release of the fellowships to the students, he blamed it on the absence of the board of governors. "The government took up the fellowship matter. We were asked to send a proposal of the expenditure to the ministry. The proposal was accepted. However, the notification read that it must become effective from December 1, 2015, instead of October 2014. We have written to the ministry on this," he said .

Talking about the three former faculty members--- Nilanjan Roy, Parikshit Bansal, Neeraj Kumar - on whose complaint to the CBI, the raids are being conducted, Bhutani alleged that the board of governors took the decision of not renewing their contracts. "Moreover, the then director Rama Rao did not approve Bansal's setting up of the department of intellectual property rights as it's the director's prerogative."

On charges that Niper had got licences for Scifinder - a software for accessing global patent database - at a higher rate, Bhutani said, "It's a proprietary item. And for such items, the firm certifies that they are the only ones who supply such software. We also have the certificate that they will charge us the minimum rate. Bansal did mention to me about the high rates. We constituted a committee to ask from all other institutes its equivalent. But, we did not find low rates," said Bhutani.

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