In a move that has raised the hackles of many, the department of evening studies at the Panjab University has purchased seven laptops costing Rs. 44,000 each out of student security lapse fund and handed them over to seven faculty members, including a retired professor, on the basis of 'seniority'.
The university's security lapse fund contains money which many students fail to get refund of once they complete their courses. The money is deposited as refundable security by students at the time of admissions.
The department has also bought a LED television costing about Rs. 78,000 from the same fund and put it in the chairperson's room. The department caters to students of five master's courses.
The move initiated by chairperson Prof Vijay Chopra and endorsed by the department's academic committee hasn't gone down well with many faculty members, who pointed out that the money could have been utilised to ensure better facilities for the students, including a computer laboratory as well as improving library facilities.
However, Prof Chopra rejected all opposition and maintained that he had acted for the betterment of the faculty and after taking all requisite permissions.
Meanwhile, sources said that the laptops were given on seniority since the number of faculty at the evening studies department was large. Interestingly, Prof Indu Tiwari, the senior-most faculty, refused to accept the laptop.
"There is nothing wrong in utilising the funds to buy laptops for faculty members. Our faculty is into research and there are no proper facilities available at the department for the same. Thus, the academic committee decided to buy these laptops. All due permission was also taken," Prof Chopra remarked.
He also clarified that the retired faculty was also given the laptop "since he is contributing a lot to the department."
"As far as the LED TV is concerned, it has been bought for making presentations. We are doing a lot for students as well. Many proposals regarding them are in the pipeline," the chairperson added.
Prof Chopra said that those critical of the move should know that even chairs, desktops and floor tiles in the evening studies department had been bought from the same fund.
Flaying the department on the matter, a faculty member Mohammad Khalid said, "The money belongs to the students and it should be used for the development of students there. The money could have been spent on getting an Internet connection as well as desktops for department students."
Sources said that the department lacks in facilities like library for students and doesn't even have good journals or even newspapers.
Prof RD Anand (retd), a former Panjab University Teachers Association president, said, "This is absurd. How could the vice chancellor grant such permission? It is the money of the students and must be spent on their development."
Seven Profs beneficiaries of dept's benevolence
Vijay Mahajan (retd)