PATNA: It is a do-or-die situation for the 325 constituent colleges falling under different universities of Bihar. They have to either settle the claims of University Grants Commission (UGC) by furnishing utilisation certificates of development grants received by them during the last two decades or refund the entire amount to the UGC.
A five-member team of the UGC will be visiting the state shortly in this connection, following a recent directive of the Patna high court to settle all the claims of utilisation of grants sanctioned to the state colleges during the 11th and 12th plan periods.
The principals and other officials concerned of all the 325 colleges have been called at PU office, university wise, between August 23 and 28 to meet the UGC team and get their pending accounts settled.
The court had earlier directed the state government and the universities to submit their pending utilisation certificates of the UGC grants. Subsequently, the state education department had also asked the universities to submit these certificates to the department in person latest by August 18. However, the universities failed to do so. Hence, the UGC was directed to send a team of its officials to settle the issues.
In 2017, a PIL was filed in the HC by an NGO Veteran Forum for Transparency in Public Life against failure of the colleges to submit utilisation certificates of UGC grants worth Rs 1100 crore in the period from 2002 to 2017.
The high court on January 10, 2018, asked 10 universities— Patna University, Magadh University, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Bihar University, Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University, Chanakya National Law University, Jai Prakash University, L N Mithila University, Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University, B N Mandal University, and Veer Kunwar Singh University to file counter affidavits within six weeks for not submitting utilisation certificates.
Again, on January 28, 2020 the high court ordered the UGC secretary to physically appear and explain the manner in which the grants were disbursed to colleges. Consequently, a special team of the UGC visited the state in March, 2021. The team did manage to get the utilisation certificates of some of its grants, but most universities could not furnish the same. Ultimately, the UGC grants some more time to the universities for submission of all the pending utilisation certificates.
Meanwhile, development officer of Patna University (PU), Parimal Kumar Khan told TOI that of the total grants of Rs 1100 crore sanctioned by the UGC, the utilisation certificates of only about Rs 600 crore have been submitted by colleges so far.
In PU, only B N College has not submitted its utilisation certificate of the grants to the tune of Rs 60 lakh to the UGC so far.
The principal of the college would have to furnish the utilisation certificate or refund the money, said Khan, adding that the court is to take up the case for final hearing on September 8.