| New Delhi |
Published: April 6, 2020 1:15:00 am
The Union HRD Ministry has asked the vice-chancellor (V-C) of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) to explain his absence from the campus given the gravity of the coronavirus outbreak even as the BHU hospital is designated for COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar has not been in BHU since March 14.
The ministry discovered this during a video-conference with all university heads on Saturday. A showcause notice seeking an explanation was issued to Bhatnagar the same day.
Bhatnagar told The Indian Express: “There were four meetings in Delhi on different dates – from March 14 to 19 – and I was attending all those meetings. (While in Delhi) I felt cold and feverish. Suspecting that I was infected (with COVID-19), I decided to stay back in Delhi and quarantine myself.”
By the time he recovered, the V-C said, the lockdown was implemented and he couldn’t travel to Varanasi.
“Whether I am in Banaras or Delhi it doesn’t matter, as I was working from home using communication technology,” he said.
During Saturday’s meeting, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal is learned to have asked how the BHU V-C is managing such a large campus from Delhi. Bhatnagar is a professor at JNU and was appointed the BHU head in April 2018.
Bhatnagar has a week to respond to the notice.
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