After the recent engineering answer sheet scam where answer papers were smuggled out of the university for students, the University of Mumbai has decided to hand over the examination house security entirely to a private security agency.
Even as the bulk of security responsibilities at Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Bhavan – the examination house at MU’s Kalina campus – had already been given to Tiger Guards Private Limited, the university decided to move its remaining in-house security staff to other departments.
It has now entrusted the private agency with the job of securing examination house, where examination papers and records are stored. “The onus of security at the exam house will now be on the private agency, which was hired through a competitive bidding process,” said MA Khan, MU registrar.
Ten staff members and 20 private security personnel jointly handled the security at the exam house. From Wednesday, security personnel of the private agency will solely guard the exam house.
The security agency – run by former city commissioner of police RD Tyagi – was hired by MU in 2015, to fill the shortage of security staff at the Kalina campus. Initially, the agency handled the security at various departments. Last year in September, the university entrusted them with the security of its most sensitive department as well.
The decision to let the private security take over the entire security apparatus at the examination centre comes a week after the city police arrested eight university staffers including Prabhakar Vaze, 50, a security guard, on the charge of tampering with the answer sheets of around 127 engineering students.
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Last week, vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh had told mediapersons that the university is facing a severe staff shortage.
“The state has added only eight new non-teaching posts in the past 30 years, even as the number of MU-affiliated colleges has tripled in this period,” said Deshmukh.
COLLEGES INCREASED BUT NOT STAFF
According to the data provided by the University of Mumbai, the number of colleges affiliated to the university has increased from 285 in 1985 to more than 740 in 2016. But, the strength of the approved non-teaching staff only increased to 1,319 from 1,311. With only 1,070 of these posts filled by the government, the university has been forced to hire an equal number of staff on contract basis.
The university is planning to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and an anti-intrusion system, an intrusion detection software, which monitors the computer network for malicious activities and using face detection techniques to restrict the access of people in sensitive sections, in an effort to beef up the security at exam house. “The administration should empower us and allow us to do our job,” said a security official of the private firm.