Bihar: Raj Bhavan directs banks to de-freeze accounts of state-run varsities

Standoff between governor and state education department continues to escalate, with police complaint against at least one VC

Representative image of the (revived) Nalanda University in Bihar, with the tricolour unfurled overhead (photo courtesy @the_lastmonk/X)
Representative image of the (revived) Nalanda University in Bihar, with the tricolour unfurled overhead (photo courtesy @the_lastmonk/X)
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PTI

The Bihar Raj Bhavan has written to banks to overrule an education department order that had frozen the accounts of state-run universities, barring one.

The standoff between the Raj Bhavan and the education department seemed to worsen with the authorities lodging a police complaint against at least one of the VCs on Sunday, 3 March.

The Raj Bhavan's direction comes after the Bihar government had ordered freezing of the bank accounts of all state-run universities, barring one, and withheld salaries of their vice-chancellors for allegedly being absent at a recent review meeting convened by the education department.

In a letter, Robert L. Chongthu, principal secretary to the governor—who is also the chancellor of the state universities—directed the banks on Sunday to de-freeze the accounts of the varsities immediately.

'The chancellor (governor) has ordered that the order of the education department stands withdrawn,' said the Raj Bhavan letter, a copy of which is with PTI.

The education department's letter to all VCs, except the vice-chancellor of Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, sought clarification for their absence from the meeting to discuss pending examinations and other issues.

The letter warned that if satisfactory replies were not received within two days, FIRs would be lodged against the university authorities and the salaries of the VCs would remain withheld. Additionally, banks were instructed not to operate any accounts of the universities until further notice.

Education secretary Baidyanath Yadav's letter, which was also sent to examination controllers of all universities except Magadh University and Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, expressed strong dissatisfaction with the VCs' absence, stating that they had failed to discharge their duties as public servants.

Meanwhile, Darbhanga district education officer Samar Bahadur Singh applied to the University police station, seeking a police complaint against the vice-chancellor of Lalit Narayan Mithila University, the examination controller and other officials for failing to attend the recent meeting called by the education department.

Despite several attempts, Bihar education minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary could not be reached for comment on the issue.

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