Orissa University of Agriculture & Technology, established in 1962 is second in seniority amongst all such Universities in India, but it is second to none in mismanagement and malfeasances.
A glaring instance is denudation of its central library. So many Vice-chancellors and Registrars have come and gone but none so far had felt the necessity of looking at it. For the first time in its four decades old history, the incumbent duo, the Vice-chancellor Sri Sahadev Sahoo and the Registrar Sri Pramod Chandra Pattanayak caused a verification of its stock of books. It transpired that 25,500 rare books of referral value were missing. The library having 70,000 titles in its stock register, the denudation is around 35%.
The library has 11 subject-matter-specialist librarians under supervision and control of a Chief Librarian. The teachers and students are entitled to burrow books over and above the books they burrow from their respective departmental libraries. Clearance certificate from the library is a pre-requisite to issuance of last pay certificate to persons under transfer, pension payment order to the superannuated and degree certificates to successful students. How then so vast numbers of books could miss without being reported?
The librarians are unable to name the missing titles. There is no record of their respective price. No trace of the authors. No record of the publishers and suppliers. But 25,500 books are not traceable in the library racks. No record of their movement, if any, is available. No body is able to say as to whom and when these books were issued, if at all.
The OUAT central library procures books mainly for research utility. Departmental libraries have their own stocks of course-books. These are books in the area of science. And, books on science, specifically those having referral importance, are heavily priced. If average cost per book, in absence of corresponding purchase register, is taken to be Rs.400/-, it indicates that more than a crore of rupees has been misappropriated in the guise of purchasing these books. This crime has been continuing for years after years. And, to keep it going, physical verification of the library had always been kept out of the job chart.
Now when the felony has been uncovered, the syndicate that has done it must not be allowed to escape. There is no need of any suggestion in this matter as the present V.C., besides his excellence in Indian Administrative Service, is a scholar himself to whom a library is the heart of knowledge.