Hderabad: After University of Hyderabad vice-chancellor Appa Rao Podile was asked to go on indefinite leave, the spotlight is now on appointments for the top posts in premier academic institutions in the city.
Amid uproar that Appa Rao became the VC due to his political connections, activists are crying hoarse that people from the Kamma community are at the helm of a majority of centrally-run research bodies now.
Even as they rue that the ruling parties are indulging in caste politics when it comes to appointments, intellectuals feel it is not a mere coincidence that people from the Kamma community occupy top posts in institutions at a time when the leaders from the community are politically influential at the Centre.
“While caste discrimination is a menace, there are instances where eligible seniors have been superseded in order to accommodate people from a particular community,” said noted academician and activist Kancha Ilaiah.
“It is important to note that these appointments were done after the BJP came to power in Delhi and Venkaiah Naidu became the Union minister. The Kamma community has become influential thanks to the BJP-TDP alliance, and both Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Venkaiah Naidu are gifting coveted posts to their fellow community members,” he added.
Even as the University of Hyderabad has a Kamma vice-chancellor, as many as five other academic institutes too have people from the same community at the helm. These include the National Academy for Research Management, whose director is D Rama Rao, the National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management with director general V Usha Rani, the Indian Institute of Rice Research headed by director V Ravindra Rao, the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture under director Ch Srinivas Rao and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology which is headed by director Ch Mohan Rao, all hailing from the Kamma community. The director posts in these institutions are akin to the vice-chancellor rank.
Observing that the caste factor playing a role in recruitments is a recent phenomenon, political scientist G Haragopal has demanded President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention to ensure that appointments are made purely on the basis of merit.
“It is crystal clear that the Kamma community has been given preference thanks to Venkaiah Naidu and Chandrababu Naidu having their say at the Centre. I think the President has to play his role and ensure more freedom to the search committees. He must be proactive in keeping caste politics at bay when it comes to appointments for the top pots in academic institutions,” said Haragopal.
His thoughts found resonence elsewhere as well. “They say the educational institutions must be free from caste discrimination. But when it comes to practice, they do exactly the opposite,” said Aldas Janaiah, senior scientist and agronomist.
The pointers are clearly at the Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu for alleged domination of his Kamma community in the higher educational institutions.
However, a fellow Kamma leader, K Haribabu, defended the appointments to the premier institutions, including the vice-chancellor of UoH. “The appointments for the academic institutions are the prerogative of the ministry of human resource development. How can any minister who is not in-charge of the ministry play a role in it? The appointments are no doubt on merit basis,” said Haribabu, who is Andhra Pradesh state BJP president and Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha member.
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గతంలో ఎన్నడూ లేని విదంగా తెలుగుదేశం ప్రభుత్వం కులతత్వాన్ని,ప్రాంతీయ అసమానతలను పెంచి పోషిస్తోందని శాసనమండలిలో విపక్ష నేత సి.రామచంద్రయ్య విమర్శించారు. ఈ 20 నెలల్లోని ప్రభుత్వ నియామకాల్లో సింహభాగం సీఎం తన సొంత కులానికి కట్టబెట్టారని, ప్రభుత్వ సలహాదారులలో బలహీ నవర్గాలకు స్థానమే లేదని ఆయన వ్యాఖ్యానించారు.. కార్పొరేషన్ల చెర్మన్లు, యూనివర్సిటీ వైస్ చాన్స్లర్లు వంటి కీలక పదవుల్ని ఒకట్రెండు కులాలకే పంచారని రామచంద్రయ్య తెలిపారు. కృష్ణా జిల్లా కైకలూరు నియోజకవర్గంలోని నామినేటెడ్ పదవులన్నీ ఒకే కులానికి కట్టబెట్టారని,దీనిపై టిడిపిలోనే వ్యతిరేకత వచ్చిందని రామచంద్రయ్య తెలిపారు.కిందిస్థాయి నుంచి పై స్థాయి వరకు పదవుల పంపిణీలో బలహీనవర్గాలకు తీవ్ర అన్యాయం జరుగుతోందని ఆయన అన్నారు.గతంలో ఎస్.సిల వర్గీకరణలో మాదిగలకు అనుకూలంగా వ్యవహరించిన టిడిపి ఇప్పుడు ఎందుకు మౌనం దాల్చిందని రామచంద్రయ్య ప్రశ్నించారు.