The race for the post of vice-chancellor of IK Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU) has again intensified with technical education minister Madan Mohan Mittal strongly backing former Panjab University professor AK Sehajpal’s name for the post.
Though Sehajpal’s candidature is yet to be approved by the chief minister and governor, highly placed sources in the government said the name of Sehajpal, a former commerce professor in the distance education department of Panjab University, had been strongly pushed by Mittal, bypassing all procedure for the appointment.
The PTU Board of Governors (BoG), in its meeting on July 7, had suggested the name of MP Punia, director, National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research, Chandigarh, citing his strong educational qualification for the post. The other two names suggested by the BoG in the panel of three persons were those of Prof Sanjay Marwaha from Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Longowal, and Prof BK Ratan from the chemical engineering department of Panjab University.
However, sources said, bypassing the panel suggested by the BoG following interviews of the aspirants, Mittal pushed the name of Sehajpal, whose qualification for the post was far below the candidates in the panel.
Suggesting Punia’s educational credentials for the post as “far above” than those of the others in the panel, the board had even recommended Punia as “best” suited to the post and had sent his name for the minister’s approval. But, sources said, the minister wanted a hardcore RSS or a pro-BJP man for the post.
The minister, after allegedly holding the file for more than a month, sent it back to the BoG in early October, demanding the addition of more names. But the BoG in November expressed its inability to do so.
Sources said Mittal arbitrarily chose Sehajpal’s name to run the technical university, though he is from a commerce background. Sehajpal, who is 1950 born, has also crossed the age of 65, suggested by the UGC for the post.
During the tenure of previous vice-chancellor Rajnish Arora, Sehajpal was appointed as a consultant for distance education after he retired from Panjab University but his, along with other such appointments made on contractual basis, were cancelled by the BoG in November.
Despite repeated attempts, Mittal was not available for comment. Principal secretary technical education MP Singh said the final call on the appointment was yet to be taken.
The post of the V-C has been lying vacant since January and the secretary, technical education, RK Verma, is holding the charge on a temporary basis.