Contrary to the claims of Punjab Technical University (PTU) about imparting quality education, especially in the border belt, the much-publicised Punjab Institute of Technology (PIT) here was closed soon after chief minister Parkash Singh Badal formally inaugurated it on October 20.
HT enquiries revealed that the university authorities "hurriedly" made arrangements to get the PIT inaugurated by Badal, who was here to participate in a birth anniversary function of Sant Kartar Singh.
Despite claiming that PITs were being set up across the state as institutes of higher learning on a par with IITs, the university authorities even failed to arrange basic and mandatory infrastructure before opening this institute.
"It seems politicians and university authorities fooled us by declaring the PIT open with much fanfare. The institute is closed since October 20. PTU is unlikely to make it operational in the near future. Government projects usually meet the same fate," rued a local resident, adding that his visits to the institute for obtaining information on new courses went futile for obvious reasons.
A section of residents from Bhikhiwind and adjoining villages demanded that the university authorities should have at least set up a counselling section at the PIT so that students could get information about the new courses and the fee structure.
A Hindustan Times team visited the institute and found that the entire building was locked, while the hoardings put up to welcome the chief minister were found lying near the entry gate. The lab equipment is yet to be installed, while machines for the workshops have not been commissioned.
No faculty has been hired in the wake of a court stay on fresh recruitments by the university owing to the alleged irregularities in hiring staffers in the past. No books have been arranged for the proposed library. The PTU authorities have even failed to deploy a single security guard at the building. Sports facilities and hostels have also not come up yet.
"A separate entry gate is required for the PIT as All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) norms do not permit two institutes on the same campus," said an employee of the government polytechnic college, which shares its campus with the PIT.
The technical education department had got the building constructed for a degree college, the work on which was completed on November 30, 2011. Later, the state government expressed its inability to hire staff for the college and preferred to transfer the building to PTU for starting the PIT.
Interestingly, Badal had claimed during the inauguration function that the PIT was a big achievement which would immensely benefit people of the border region. "Students of the area can easily get good technical education here from skilled teaching staff," he had said.
Evading a direct reply to queries on PIT's closure, Badal, who was in Talwara on Monday, said there might be certain technical formalities which had not been completed before introducing the courses. "I am hopeful that the university will get it going soon," he said.
Sources said the PIT would be opened in June.
When contacted by HT, PTU registrar HS Bains said he would get back on the issue soon, but he did not.
The plan that went awry
PTU vice-chancellor Rajneesh Arora had, nearly two years ago, claimed that the university would set up 13 PITs in the state to offer six-year integrated undergraduate as well as postgraduate courses.
Arora had claimed that the PITs would be started with an initial intake of 240 students (four sections of 60 students each) in Class 11 on the basis of their marks in matriculation. It was stated that the PITs would have separate management boards and the qualifications and salaries of the director and faculty members would match those of their counterparts in IITs.
"These institutes will be free to decide their own syllabus and conduct exams. Degrees to the students will be conferred by PTU," Arora had said. He had claimed that the institutes would be autonomous as far as academics and financial matters were concerned. But this has not materialised.
Proposed multi-entry, multi-exit pattern
Admission after Class 10
After two years: Class 12
After three years: Diploma
After four years: Advanced diploma
After six years: BTech
Admission after graduation
After one year: PG diploma
After two years: Master's
No term-end examinations
Internal and continuous assessment
Fee as charged by state government colleges
Scholarships for deserving students
Part-time jobs, on-campus and off-campus