Pachauri proceeds on leave, Ashok Chawla named new chairman

Pachauri proceeds on leave, Ashok Chawla named new chairman

Facing flak, TERI's executive vice chairman R K Pachauri today proceeded on leave from two other bodies -- TERI and its governing council, which also appointed former Competition Commission chief Ashok Chawla as the new chairman in an apparent damage control measure.

In its meeting, the council decided that Pachauri will be on leave from TERI, its governing vouncil and the university till further review by it, given the subjudice nature of the matter.

"The Council welcomed former Competition Commission chief Ashok Chawla as its new Chairman. The Council looks forward to his leadership of this important institute.

"The Council also inducted the new Director General, Ajay Mathur as a Member of the Council who will operate with full executive powers," TERI said in a statement after its governing council met.

The council met to discuss "key issues" relating to the functioning of the organisation.
When asked whether Pachauri was forced to go on leave or he took the decision voluntarily, TERI declined to comment on it only saying, "Our version has been made clear in our statement. There is no connotation to it."

Chawla, who was also the former finance secretary, was appointed the new chairman after B V Sreekantan resigned recently after being a Member of the Council for over 40 years.

TERI had yesterday said that Pachauri's role is to ensure a "smooth transition" for Mathur.

Amid outrage over his appointment as TERI's Executive Vice Chairman, Pachauri has proceeded on leave yesterday from TERI University and communicated that he will skip the institution's convocation on March 7 after a group of students refused to receive degrees from him.

Facing the heat due to multiple sexual harassment charges, Pachauri, the Chancellor of the University was recently elevated to the newly-created post, a move which triggered severe critisism from the alumni and women activists across the country.

"R K Pachauri, who had been at the head of the institute since 1982 will be on leave from TERI, TERI Governing Council, and TERI University till this is reviewed by the Governing Council given the subjudice nature of the matter," TERI said in the statement.

TERI said that the process for replacement of Pachauri as DG had culminated after the appointment of Mathur as DG with full executive powers on July 23 last year.

"However as Mathur was able to join only on February 8 this year after he was finally relieved by the government of India, the Governing Council effected various interim arrangements so as not to destabilise the operations of the institute," it said.

The green body said that it has a staff strength of 1200 people, out of which over 33 per cent are women.

"At the highest echelons of the institute, 14 of the 30 directors are women. The Governing Council of TERI supports the rights of women and has consistently ensured the provision of a secure environment and a safe work place for its employees," TERI said in the statement.

The development comes even as woman activists protested outside its office today and demanded the sacking of Pachauri while the governing council meeting was going on inside.

Meanwhile concerns of students regarding posts held by Pachauri have been passed on to the green body's governing council, TERI University said while asserting that its process and systems goes "beyond dependence" on a single individual.

Acting Vice Chancellor of the University, Rajiv Seth held two separate interactions with the student body as well as with faculty members.

The move came after some alumni of 2013-2015 batch, had yesterday written to Seth saying the recent "inaction" of the board of management at TERI University with respect to Pachauri "deeply saddened" them.

"Pachauri's continuing presence at the top is completely antithetical to our convictions as alumni and graduates of TERI University. We would like to make it explicitly clear that we are not in a position to accept our degrees from him at the upcoming convocation on March 7, 2016.

"We reiterate that the trajectory that the university is taking is dangerous and grossly inconsiderate and as alumni, we sincerely hope that the TERI University Board of Management may seriously re-evaluate Pachauri's continuing role as Chancellor of the university," the alumni wrote in their letter.

 

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