At the time when the Administration, Police, Municipal Corporation, University, Cultural Centre and all other allied departments were gearing up and sprucing-up the city for the President’s visit on November 16, 2013, a sudden announcement that President Pranabh Mukherjee’s entire visit is cancelled put every official on the backfoot.
The President was scheduled to arrive in Nagpur on November 16 to grace the 150th Centennial Celebration of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and 100th Convocation Function of Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMNU).
In a communication to Mayor Anil Sole, dated November 7 and signed by the President’s Private Secretary Rajneesh, IAS, that read “I have been directed to convey that the visit of the President to Nagpur stands cancelled. Therefore, the President will not be able to attend the above function scheduled on 16 November 2013 in Nagpur. “Inconvenience caused in this regard is deeply regretted.”
However, the communication did not assign any reason for cancellation of the President’s visit to Nagpur.
The Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) was gearing up to make their golden jubilee celebrations, scheduled on November 16 with an extravaganza and a remarkable show. The NMC had hired the services of a professional event management company to make the event a grand success.
The civic body NMC which was in no mood to take the high profile event lightly and got approval to spend a whopping Rs 52.45 lakh for the celebrations. They had geared up to make their 150th Centennial Celebrations the memorable one in the history of the NMC. The civic body had hired the services of a professional event management company to make the event a grand success.
The Orange City was being decked up with shining and smooth roads to greet and welcome the President on his visit to the city.
NMC, along with Collector’s Office and Divisional Commissioner’s Office, had geared up and were spending every minute in making strategies to make the city beautiful and comfortable for the visit of the President. The Public Works Department was helping out all the way to give a facelift to the city.
Nagpur University too was gearing up for the 100th Convocation where President was the chief guest along with Governor or Maharashtra Sankaranarayanan. RTMNU, one of the biggest universities of India was to celebrate its 100th convocation. The President of India was to grace this very occasion. Architect of Indian supercomputer Dr Vijay Bhatkar (incidentally a graduate of Nagpur University) was to be conferred with Honorary D Litt. Hectic efforts were on to make this 100th convocation process a memorable event. Since the time span was quite limited, the RTMNU. has re-organised the entire Convocation ceremony and had curtailed lengthy procedures.
Probable cause of cancellation of President’s visit
According to some sources, the office of the President of India was not satisfied with the functioning of RTMNU, VC, and some allegations leveled against the authorities.
Former chairman of NU Board of Studies (BoS) of mass communication Sunil Mishra had filed a petition with Raisina Hills in Delhi pointing out towards various issues, including pending complaint against vice chancellor Vilas Sapkal with the Sitabuldi police station for allegedly forging his documents while applying for the VC’s post. He also filed a complaint against Sankaranarayanan for failing to direct to Sapkal to take action on roster scam where over 500 appointments were made illegally by allegedly tampering records. He raised questions on the chancellor’s inaction over NU granting permission to second and third-year students from the 250 banned colleges to appear in the exam.
Mishra also pointed out the issue of 117 of 250 banned colleges where practical/internal/sessional/viva-voce marks of students were awarded by their chairmen and secretaries respectively, while brazenly flouting norms. He warned the President against sharing seat with those who will be awarding “bogus” degrees to such students during the 100th convocation on November 16. The President’s office then sought “comments” over these allegations from the governor, who in turn summoned Sapkal asking him to file a reply before November 6. The report stated that the NU administration had investigated into details of students from these colleges and found their numbers to be below 2,000 and majority of them hail from BEd Colleges. NU said it will further conduct an internal enquiry in this regard. Similarly, on the allegations of forging documents by Sapkal, the NU report stated that the chancellor had already granted clean chit to the VC and even in this case, the Sitabuldi cops had failed to inform NU officials about the progress.