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Friday, Apr 01, 2005
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A crucial IRMA meeting for Kurien
Ahmedabad , March 31
IT is an institution which he built 25 years ago. But on Friday, India's milk-man, Dr V. Kurien, faces perhaps the toughest challenge to his leadership of the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA).
Much against Dr Kurien's wishes, the board of IRMA is meeting on April 1 to discuss a report by the Assistant Charity Commissioner in Anand, Ms Bakula Waghela, who has said that his continuation as the life-long chairman of the Institute may not be in "public interest".
A review petition before the Joint Charity Commissioner, Vadodara, Mr B.P. Hadia, filed by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) Managing Director, Mr B.M. Vyas, was rejected on Thursday. Mr Vyas is also a Director on the board of IRMA.
The Joint Charity Commissioner upheld Ms Waghela's contention on Dr Kurien's chairmanship and questioned the locus standi of Mr Vyas to seek a review of the Assistant Charity Commissioner's report.
He also declined to stay the board meeting called on April 1, according to Mr Sailesh Patel, counsel for IRMA Director, and the ex-officio Member Secretary of the Institute's board, Prof K. Prathap Reddy.
Along with the Assistant Charity Commissioner's report, the performance of Prof Reddy as the Director of IRMA would also come up before the board on Friday. Dr Kurien had reportedly expressed his dissatisfaction with Prof Reddy's performance and a three-member committee was set up to examine the charges on February 28. The preliminary report of the committee will come up at the board meeting on Friday, IRMA sources told Business Line from Anand.
Dr Kurien has been facing revolt at IRMA with several board members reportedly against his continuation as the life-long chairman. Dr Kurien, who had earlier described Ms Waghela's report as "a mistake", could not be contacted despite repeated efforts on Thursday evening. Dr Kurien had even said last week that he was "not willing to be pushed out of IRMA" and that he would stay on as long as he "wishes to."
When IRMA was set up in 1979, Dr Kurien was nominated as chairman for three years. He then got an extension of five years. Then came the controversy whether IRMA rules give Dr Kurien a life-long term as chairman.
The rival camp points out as per the rules, a committee was to be set up after his eight-year term ended in 1987, to locate a new chairman. In effect, they claim, Dr Kurien has been occupying the position illegally for the last 17 years.
Dr Kurien's Executive Assistant, Mr P.A. Joseph, had earlier said that a search committee was to be set up after Dr Kurien ceases to be chairman, which could either be when he himself decides to step down or on his death.
Both Mr Vyas and Mr Joseph were also not available for comments.
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