‘Selfish’ PGI faculty leaders scuttle hiring process

  • Vishav Bharti, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Dec 08, 2014 09:21 IST

Using Faculty Association of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for their vested interests, two of its office-bearers have scuttled the process of recruitment of professors in their departments particularly and in institute in general as both are not eligible for the post of professor at present.

The office-bearers are Dr Ritesh Agarwal, an associate professor in the department of pulmonary medicine, and Dr Sandeep Grover, an associate professor in the psychiatry department, who are also general secretary and executive committee member of the association, respectively.

The institute had demanded teaching experience of 11 years for the post of professor.

With both Dr Agarwal and Dr Grover having an experience of just eight years, external candidates were likely to get the posts.

In October this year, the PGIMER administration issued an advertisement inviting applications for recruitment of 179 faculty posts, including 30 professors. All these were fresh posts sanctioned by the health ministry to the institute some time back.

However, just a day before the final date of submission on November 30, the institute surprisingly withdrew the post of professor in department of pulmonary medicine, citing, “Due to some administrative reasons the following posts are hereby withdrawn.”

Sources revealed that the institute is also planning to withdraw the post of professor advertised for department of psychiatry. Dr Agarwal and Dr Grover get direct benefit from this.

The move by these doctors is not only against their peers, but also goes against public interest as it deprives common people of getting the services of 30 senior doctors. Surprisingly, the action comes in wake of severe faculty crunch at the PGIMER.

According to sources, the institute is short of at least 300 doctors of which around 60 senior doctors at the level of professor are required.

In an email circulated among the PGIMER Faculty Association office-bearers, Dr Grover and association president Dr Virendra Singh said the direct recruitment process should be stopped.

“The Faculty Association has previously expressed its reservation in such recruitments as it has been seen that it often leads to nepotism and enrolment of undeserving faculty members,” they added.

Quoting seven points for deferring the recruitment of the post, they said, “Thus, we are of the opinion that most/all posts advertised at the level of professor be withdrawn and re-advertised at the level of assistant professors. Also the criteria for recruitment of professors be made explicit prior to any recruitment at the professor level.”

Confirming the development, Dr Virendra Singh said questions on the recruitment process were raised by a couple of individuals in the association. “However, the Faculty Association as such has not taken any decision regarding the move. We have neither given any representation to the institute’s administration so far,” he added.

However, HT has a copy of the representation prepared under the names of Dr Agarwal and Dr Virendra Singh. The last direct recruitment at the PGIMER was done in 2011. The posts were also advertised in 2012 but it was deferred by the PGIMER administration without citing any reason. The move has even split the Faculty Association.

An assistant professor, who is eligible for the professor’s post, and has served as an ad hoc faculty for eight years at the institute, said in a protest note that it was indeed very disappointing to know that faculty members, who run the faculty association, were manipulating the institute’s policies and giving recommendations as per their whims and fancies.

“It is condemnable and shameful to know that faculty members are themselves advising the administration to withdraw lateral entry posts, thereby jeopardising the only chance of counting the long ad hoc periods of so many faculty members, including me,” he said.

Another assistant professor working on ad hoc basis for seven years said it was shocking to know of the development. “How can some of the members of faculty association use their positions for their vested interests. Cancellation of lateral entry posts will not only hamper the compensation of ad hoc period but also delay the interview process,” he said.

Repeated attempts to contact Dr Agarwal and Dr Grover through phone, SMS and email went in vain. PGIMER spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar was also unavailable for comment.

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