Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Shreya Bhandary

Three out of ev­ery five col­leges af­fil­i­ated to the Univer­sity of Mum­bai do not have per­ma­nent prin­ci­pals. Ac­cord­ing to the univer­sity, of the 755 col­leges af­fil­i­ated with MU, 502 col­leges are func­tion­ing on act­ing prin­ci­pals ei­ther be­cause of lack of ap­pro­pri­ate can­di­dates or are await­ing ap­provals from higher au­thor­i­ties.

“I’ve worked as a prin­ci­pal for 14 years and my man­age­ment is happy with my record. There is a pro­vi­sion for ap­prov­ing ex­ten­sion to a prin­ci­pal after the can­di­date reaches 60 years. My col­lege wrote to the univer­sity to ex­tend my ten­ure and are await­ing their ap­proval,” said KV Sir­waiya, for­mer prin­ci­pal of Wil­son Col­lege in Charni Road. With no of­fi­cial ap­proval from the gov­ern­ment so far, Sir­waiya who re­tired last year, has de­cided to take a break from the post till June. “I hope the ap­provals will come through by then,” he said.

In the past few months, prin­ci­pals of some of the top city col­leges have re­tired from their posts in­clud­ing HR Col­lege’s Indu Sha­hani, KC Col­lege’s Manju Nichani and Har­sha Me­hta from SIES Col­lege in Sion. While in most cases, the vice-prin­ci­pal of the col­lege took over the post as act­ing prin­ci­pal, fi­nal ap­provals from MU can take a while.

At KC Col­lege, for­mer vi­ceprin­ci­pal Hem­lata Bagla is cur­rently the act­ing prin­ci­pal. The col­lege man­age­ment hopes to get the fi­nal ap­provals to make Bagla the per­ma­nent prin­ci­pal within six months. “If a col­lege has the right can­di­date who matches all the cri­te­ria pre­scribed by the Univer­sity Grants Com­mis­sion (UGC), ap­provals come through within six months,” said Bagla.

Many have also high­lighted the lack of in­ter­ested can­di­dates for the prin­ci­pal’s post as one of the ma­jor con­cerns. “No­body wants to take up the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that come along with the post.the ad­min­is­tra­tive work can be stress­ful and there’s not much mon­e­tary gain so most se­nior staff mem­bers who are el­i­gi­ble for the post end up de­clin­ing it,” said Ancy Jose, prin­ci­pal of Nagin­das Khand­wala Col­lege in Malad.

“A prin­ci­pal needs to have pub­lished re­search papers in the field of sub­ject they ex­cel in and that poses as a prob­lem for com­merce and law col­leges as only a few peo­ple do re­search in these fields. We ap­prove can­di­dates quickly if they are apt for the job,” said a se­nior of­fi­cial from MU.

To pres­sure the Deven­dra Fad­navis-led BJP gov­ern­ment to waive farm­ers’ loans, op­po­si­tion par­ties are gear­ing for the fourth phase of their sang­harsh ya­tra (strug­gle march) from May 11.

They also plan to re­quest gover­nor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis to con­vene a spe­cial ses­sion of the state leg­is­la­ture to dis­cuss the is­sue.

The op­po­si­tion par­ties in­tend to cover Konkan dis­tricts in the next three days.

Six prom­i­nent op­po­si­tion par­ties par­ties — Con­gress, NCP, Sa­ma­jwadi Party (SP), Peas­ants and Work­ers Party (PWP), Repub­li­can Party (Kawade) and United Janata Dal — have been de­mand­ing loan waiver for farm­ers reeling un­der agrar­ian cri­sis. Since March, the party lead­ers have been in­ter­act­ing with farm­ers and fam­i­lies af­fected by sui­cides. To counter them, the BJP has planned sam­vad ya­tra to reach out to peo­ple and tell them about gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to solve their prob­lems.

“In the last three phases of the protest march, we have covered al­most all dis­tricts of Vi­darbha, Marath­wada and north and west Ma­ha­rash­tra. We are yet to visit only the Konkan re­gion and it will be covered in the fourth phase of the ya­tra,” said a se­nior leader who did not wish to be named.

He added, “We have de­cided to

ask the gov­ern­ment to waive farm­ers’ power bills from the use of agri­cul­ture pumps. We also want the farm loan waiver to be dis­cussed in the state leg­is­la­ture. A del­e­ga­tion of se­nior Op­po­si­tion lead­ers will meet the gover­nor and chief min­is­ter on May 2 to dis­cuss both de­mands.”

The Op­po­si­tion stepped up its de­mands to grant the Rs30,500crore loan waiver after the Ut­tar Pradesh gov­ern­ment waived its farmer loans.

While ad­dress­ing BJP’S state ex­ec­u­tive meet­ing in Chinch­wad in Pune on Thurs­day, Fad­navis said, “Dur­ing the sam­vad (di­a­logue) ya­tra, BJP lead­ers and work­ers will tell farm­ers about the gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to help them. Around five lakh work­ers will reach 50 lakh fam­i­lies.”

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