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PIMS got fashion, textile, photography, retail experts to manage health care

chandigarh Updated: Dec 19, 2013 23:23 IST
Sukhdeep Kaur

Look who the Punjab government thinks eligible for managing its premier health institute. Even as the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Jalandhar, has been struggling for survival, the seven new members inducted into the PIMS Medical Education and Charitable Society headed by Punjab rural development and panchayat minister Surjit Singh Rakhra in August this year after consent of the governing body chaired by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal have no expertise in health care or medical education.

What's more blatant is that three of the new members were registered as companies in New Delhi on April 26, 2013, a day before Rakhra's society wrote to the Punjab government to induct them and two of them were registered as societies in Chandigarh just five days before. Of the remaining two, one was registered as a society in 2002 and the other in 2010.

This is not all. The profile of some of the directors of companies and presidents of societies of these new members is an interesting mix of experience in fashion, photography, textile and retail industry.

New members' profiles

The charitable society submitted a brief profile of members of their societies/companies as annexure 12 in its application of April 27.

Sample this:

Diltaj Grewal has 30-year experience in retail industry and has worked as regional marketing head of FabIndia.
Sabina Vaisoha has diploma in fashion and has worked with a Dutch designer for three years.

Hemant Mehta is a professional photographer and founder director of India Picture.

Mohit Chitkara is vice-president of Chitkara educational trust and has 15-year experience in the field of education.
Karan Khanna is a retail and textile professional with 20 years' experience in this field.

Bhavdeep Sardana is CEO of Sukhjit Starch and Chemicals.

'Needed for money, business acumen'

The society's letter cited their "rich experience in running large businesses and their business acumen that will help in running the college and hospital" as a reason for making the nominations. It added that they would bail it out of the deepening financial mess saying, "The new societies and companies will also be able to revive the charitable society from the current financial crunch."

Rules flouted, yet financial crunch worsens

Despite these glaring anomalies pointed out by the special committee appointed by the steering committee led by chief secretary Rakesh Singh, the latter bailed out the beleaguered charitable society in its meeting held on August 25 this year through the Punjab Infrastructure Board (PIDB) which had framed legal issues "to satisfaction" and the AG office which had answered them "to satisfaction".

The steering committee, which comprised the principal secretary and director of medical education department besides PIMS Society director Dr Vimal Sekri and Prof KS Chugh, gave its nod in the presence of Rakhra's younger brother Charanjit Dhariwal, who is not a member of the steering committee. The governing body chaired by the chief minister soon paved the way for the new members. But within two months of their induction in September, PIMS is once again staring at a worsening crisis.

Old woes, new members

Healthcare Services Charitable Society: Registered April 22, 2013
Healthcare and Medical Education Charitable Society: Registered April 22, 2013
Himgiri Aayurvigyan Sansthan: Registered April 26, 2013
Astha Medical Education Society: Registered April 26, 2013
Magical Medical and Management Education Organisation: Registered April 26, 2013
Leo Welfare Society: Registered March 2002
Galaxy Educational Society: Registered December 2010

Tomorrow: Past imperfect, present tense: what lies in future for PIMS?