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Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, July 19, 2013
With the Jawaharlal Institute of Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry appointing heads of departments (HoD) on rotational basis for a fixed tenure of up to three years, the faculty at the PGIMER here can also hope for a shot at the top posts. Besides the JIPMER and Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Chandigarh's Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is the third institute governed by the union health ministry; all three go by an identical administrative structure.

While the JIPMER has already started the rotational system and even appointed new heads from July 1, at the PGIMER there are many HoDs who have been occupying the chair for nearly two decades. There are at least six who have been HoD for more than 15 years.

At the JIPMER, with the new system in place, the heads having already completed three years will have to step down. "The tenure for incoming HoDs would be for a period of three years or retirement, whichever is earlier," said the order by the JIPMER director.

A section of PGI Faculty Association led by its former president Dr Virendra Singh has demanded immediate implementation of the system here too: "We have been demanding it for two decades. When there is a fixed tenure for every post in the country, why not for heads of departments at the PGIMER?"

There have, in fact, been numerous attempts to work out plans of rotational headship at the PGIMER as well as AIIMS. Even some surveys were conducted by the health ministry at the PGIMER a few years ago, which found that there is serious discontentment among the faculty due to a roadblock to headship in the absence of a rotational system. A committee under former PGIMER director Dr KK Talwar, constituted by the health ministry, had actually recommended rotational headship.

When asked about it, PGIMER spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said, "PGIMER is an autonomous body and will take its own decision when the time comes."