The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU's) Centre of Communication and International Linkages (CCIL), one of its most important departments, is in a mess.
The department has been running without a permanent additional director of communications (ADC), the centre chief, since September 2012. It has ever since been managed by temporary heads, appointed by PAU vice-chancellor BS Dhillon.
The varsity has invited applications to fill up the vacant ADC's post four times till now, prompting responses from many candidates with journalistic backgrounds as well. However, nothing came out of the process, leaving many wondering what the university authorities are up to.
The temporary set-up of the department chiefs has impacted negatively the CCIL's functioning; many say it is turning sluggish and unprofessional. And while there is no permanent ADC, the other staffers of the CCIL feel overworked.
"Is the VC really of the opinion that this centre can be run with temporary heads?" the department employees questioned.
JS Dhiman was the last official ADC of CCIL. He served it for five years till September 12, 2012 before being made additional director of research (ADR) by the vice-chancellor.
The CCIL's last three heads were professors RS Dhaliwal (now director students' welfare), BS Sohal (now retired) and Chander Mohan, who continues to hold the post since August last. Many say the university's alleged lax attitude in making the appointment of the CCIL head is not the only example of the varsity's non-seriousness when it comes to this prestigious department, which communicates with farmers as well as the media.
Sidelined since long
Current and former faculty members, who also served at CCIL, said the 'wrought' began ever since the department was shifted to new building located close to Gate 1 of the university.
They said the previous building that housed CCIL was especially designed for it and had dedicated rooms for radio, projector, TV, interview and print sections, besides counters to sell literature to the farmers.
A small example of the previous building's aptness for the communication centre can be gauged from a project report - The Agricultural University and Communication - compiled by an official of the United States' Ohio University in 1966 during his visit to PAU. The report mentions that building could be model for the communication centres of other agricultural universities. It was despite this recognition that CCIL was shifted from the building.
Even the printing press that was earlier used by CCIL for is more like a ghost house today. Instead, the varsity does all printing from outside shops.
Vice-chancellor Dhillon could not be contacted despite several attempts but registrar PK Khanna told HT: "Yes, we have already adverstised this post in the past but so far we have not selected anyone. Applications have reached us but we are still in the process of making the final decision."
"In case, we do not find a suitable candidate, we may advertise the post once again. We are looking for the best candidate that we haven't been able to find so far," he added.