People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 14

April 07, 2013




Corruption in Annamalai University Leads to Crisis


S P Rajendran


NEARLY 12,000 teaching and non-teaching staff of Annamalai University, one of the largest universities in the country, observed fast across Tamilnadu on March 27. These included as many as 6,000 staff members fasting in front of the Collectorate in Cuddalore district. The fast took place under the banner of Joint Action Council (JAC) of Annamalai University Teachers’ and Staff Associations.


It is the multi-crore corruption scams as well as an anti-employee policy of the management that have pushed the entire teaching and non-teaching community to the war-path in order to save this esteemed institution.


Leaders of the JAC say their primary demand is that the pro-chancellor, M A M Ramaswamy, must should be removed from the post and that the higher education minister of the state appointed in his place.


At present, 3,000 teachers and 9,400 non-teaching members are working in the Annamalai University which is situated at Chidambaram in Cuddalore district. Out of entire staff, however, only 657 teachers and 1,110 non-teachers are getting their salaries and other allowances from the government of Tamilnadu.


Right from the year 2000, due to increases in the student strength, necessitating new appointments, the number of teachers and non-teaching staffs has also gone up in the university. At present, some 30,000 students are pursuing their studies through on-campus programmes while 4,50,000 students are enrolled in the distance mode. However, the teachers’ associations expressed their opposition when the management started to appoint the teaching and non-teaching staff unscrupulously. Teachers and their associations opposed the limitless appointments even in the Academic Council meetings and at other forums, while conducting agitations outside.


It has also been learnt that, depending upon the nature of the posts and the basic pay they carry, agents of the management have been extorting Rs 5,00,000 to Rs 45,00,000 as bribe for appointments. Whenever the associations opposed these unethical postings, the authorities tried to silence the teachers on the plea that “it is the headache of the management, and you will be given full salary forever.”


All of a sudden, however, the vice chancellor called all the associations on November 7, 2012, and announced that the university was in a financial crisis, as a result whereof the university would be forced to go in for staff retrenchment or salary reduction or both. But the Joint Action Council firmly opposed this decision and pointed out that neither the teachers nor the non- teaching members were responsible for the financial crisis; rather it was the pro-chancellor who was solely responsible for it as he had been making appointments without any limit.


Then, during the Syndicate meeting on November 16, 2012, when the JAC was staging a protest action outside the meeting’s venue, the vice chancellor assured that the syndicate had decided not to reduce salaries or retrench anyone. However, the management did not take any measure to set the financial position of the university right.


The accusation levelled by the JAC is that agents of the management have been swindling Rs 300 crore per year on an average, in the name of donations from the students. So far, they have illegally got Rs 7,800 crore as bribes for appointments and as donations.


To salvage the situation, the JAC has put forth the following demands:

(1) There must be neither salary reduction nor retrenchment at any cost.

(2) All benefits due to the university teachers and employees must continue at par with other universities.

(3) The pro-chancellorship should be given to the higher education minister of Tamilnadu.

(4) An enquiry commission must be constituted to probe the corruption by the management.


It was in this context that the JAC organised the protest fast across the whole state of Tamilnadu. Its office bearers say the university is still continuing with its anti-employee policy, and denying the rightful benefits to teachers and other staff. It had stopped paying the Pongal bonus, dearness allowance arrears, leave encashment and so on. It is also refusing regularisation of services of the staff. All these anomalies could be sorted out only with the immediate intervention of the state government, they said.


The JAC has also asked the government to initiate criminal proceedings against those involved in malpractices and other such unsavoury activities.


The All India Federation of University and College Teachers' Organisations (AIFUCTO) extended support to the cause of the Annamalai University teaching and non-teaching fraternity.




Earlier, a special audit ordered by the state government following the staff unrest and financial crisis in Annamalai University had unearthed large scale irregularities, malpractices and mismanagement in the university’s affairs.

One shocking revelation made by the audit report is that contributions to provident fund and pension funds amounting to Rs 178 crore had not been remitted into the respective accounts. Further, the university authorities have diverted Rs 268 crore from the General Fund, Examination Fund and Distance Education Fund to run the self-financing courses which are supposed to be self-sufficient.

The government had ordered the special audit under provisions of the Annamalai University Act.

Other key audit findings were as below: the university has not adhered to the UGC or government norms or statutory provisions regarding appointment, promotion and fixation of pay, often fixing far higher scales of pay than permissible. The recurring financial burden as a result for 2009-10 and 2010-11 alone was Rs 22 crore. It incurred excess expenditure amounting to Rs 109.98 crore in 2010-11 alone, by way of extra posts under regular education, distance education and self-financing courses, and a cumulative superfluous spending of Rs 576.35 crore.

Violations of the Tender Transparency Act, which is applicable to the university, were also noticed. Between 2008 and 2012, construction work was mostly awarded to the Chettinad Builders at rates much above the estimates. The lack of an internal mechanism to oversee the financial transactions has led to an overall deficit of Rs 272 crore in the last 15 years and to liabilities amounting to Rs 238 crore.

Following a detailed inspection report, the higher education secretary of the state then sent a letter to the Annamalai University vice chancellor on March 7. It said: “The government is of the view that in spite of receiving grant to the tune of Rs 42,798.24 lakh (Rs 427.98 crore) during the period from 1998-99 to 2012-13, the university has landed in a serious financial crisis….. Serious malpractices have occurred due to gross abuse of powers and privileges conferred on the founder,” the letter said.

It was in this background that a special meeting of the university’s Senate was held on March 13. Members of the Joint Action Council and several others, including K Balakrishnan, MLA from Chidambaram constituency and a Central Committee member of the CPI(M), and vice chancellors of other universities and government officials, recommended that the university must be brought under the government’s control.