Home >Politics >Policy >Ashok Chawla named new chief at TERI; Pachauri sent on leave
Pachauri, who went on a leave on Thursday from the TERI University after students refused to receive degrees from him, on Friday proceeded on leave from the organization and its governing council. Photo: Hindustan Times
Pachauri, who went on a leave on Thursday from the TERI University after students refused to receive degrees from him, on Friday proceeded on leave from the organization and its governing council. Photo: Hindustan Times

Ashok Chawla named new chief at TERI; Pachauri sent on leave

TERI said it looks forward to leadership of 65-year-old Chawla, who was also a Union finance secretary, and inducted the new director general Ajay Mathur as a member of the council

New Delhi: R K. Pachauri was on Friday virtually shut out of TERI when he was nudged to go on leave even as its chairman B.V. Sreekantan resigned amid mounting outrage over the elevation of the environmentalist facing a swirl of sexual harassment allegations.

In a related development, former Competition Commission of India chief Ashok Chawla was appointed new chairman of the organization.

Chawla said an external ombudsman will be appointed to go into any complaints of sexual harassment in future.

The former TERI director general continued to face the heat as women activists protested outside the TERI office, demanding his sacking.

Pachauri, who went on a leave on Thursday from the TERI University after students refused to receive degrees from him, on Friday proceeded on leave from the organization and its governing council.

“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 a note after meeting of the governing council, which discussed the roles, responsibilities and leadership of the organization.

TERI said the organization looks forward to the leadership of 65-year-old Chawla, who was also a Union finance secretary, and inducted the new director general Ajay Mathur as a member of the council.

Mathur will operate with full executive powers, a move that will strip Pachauri of any executive powers he may have enjoyed when he was appointed executive vice-chairman earlier this week.

When asked whether Pachauri was forced to go on leave or he took the decision voluntarily, TERI declined to comment.

“Our version has been made clear in our statement. There is no connotation to it," said a TERI official.

Chawla also said the integrity and credibility of the organization should not be allowed to decline.

Facing flak over appointing him to the newly created post of executive vice-chairman, TERI had on Thursday claimed Pachauri’s role in his new capacity was to ensure a “smooth transition" for Mathur.

Pachauri had communicated that he will skip the institution’s convocation on 7 March after a group of students refused to receive degrees from him.

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

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

The green body said it has a staff strength of 1,200, out of which over 33% 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 employees," it said in the note. 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, on Friday 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 on Thursday 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," their letter said.

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