Punjab Agricultural University’s (PAU) school of climate change and agricultural meteorology has become a topic of discussion on the campus after two of its assistant professors got transfer orders on late Saturday evening for not being able to alert the higher authorities in the department about rainfall prediction on September 12 and 13, when mela took place.
It is pertinent to mention here that opening day of the mela lasted only for three hours due to heavy rainfall and within minutes of rainfall inception, the venue was filled with water and farmers had to leave the venue.
Various sources from the campus shared with media that in order to punish the weather department, two of its assistant professors: assistant agronomist Sandeep Singh Sandhu, and assistant agrometeorologist Ritu Babuta, have been held responsible for their languid approach towards their duties and functions, and have been transferred to Jalandhar district.
They opined, “If the officials from the school of climate change and agricultural meteorology would have informed the authorities concerned about weather prediction, alternative arrangements could have been made and mess at the mela could have been avoided.”
When contacted, department head LK Dhaliwal refused to comment and asked to contact the Centre of Communication and International Linkages (CCIL). CCIL additional director of communication of Chander Mohan, along with officiating registrar Rajinder Singh Sidhu, agreed regarding the transfer, but did not give reasons for it. They said they were not interested in commenting on the issue.
It is pertinent to mention here that whenever Dhaliwal has been contacted for any weather update, she has always failed to share information on instant basis, and if any information is exposed by her, it has been in a muddled state.
This has also been reported to vice-chancellor BS Dhillon through phone calls and emails, but it failed to bring any improvement. PAU students too unanimously feel that this department needs to pull up their socks for improving their functioning. Several also feel the department needs better infrastructure.