The fresh salvo of cabinet minister Madan Mohan Mittal against chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal uncovers the brewing cold war between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) over the much-delayed appointment of Punjab Technical University vice chancellor (VC).
The VC’s post of this government-run IK Gujral Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, has been lying vacant since January 2015 even as a 12-member Board of Governors (BOG) on July 8 last year recommended the three-member panel to select the VC.
So far, the government has not taken a decision to select the candidate even as the BJP has taken up the matter with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
It is this studied silence of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal over this issue, coupled with delay and lack of say in deciding the next PTU-VC that is at the root of Mittal’s second attack within a week against the chief secretary.
The BJP, it is learnt, has been lobbying for a candidate with saffron background. The previous PTU VC, Dr Rajnish Arora, who has been facing a CBI case, was also a BJP appointee.
The grouse of Mittal, the technical education and industrial training minister, is that chief secretary as head of the search committee recommended names of three candidates who are not suitable for the VC’s post.
“The report of the search committee was put up in the BOG meeting. The board, after due deliberations, recommended panel in order of priority. The board also endorsed the recommendations of the search committee,” reads the minutes of meeting of the board.
The panel comprised Dr MP Poonia, director NITTTR, Chandigarh (National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research); Dr VK Rattan (professor in Panjab University) and Dr Sanjay Marwaha, a professor of Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur.
However, Mittal, a senior BJP leader, in writing directed the search committee to incorporate two more names in the list of three candidates, according to official records.
When the file containing three names was placed before the minister, he returned it with a short note in English that was full of flaws, directing: “The names recommended also pursued. Since the appointment relates to the post of VC, the candidate should have been considered from the angle of University services and with administrative experience than the technical education merely…So the file be resubmitted with the recommendation as discussed. Since, a panel of five members can be submitted so that two more names be submitted early for final approval.”
This note of the minister was placed before the Board for consideration. But, no decision was taken and the stalemate continued. While the search committee comprised chief secretary; principal secretary, technical education and industrial training; secretary, technical education, and Chandra Mohan, former chairman of Punjab Tractors Limited, the PTU board headed by chief secretary Kaushal has 14 other members including MP Singh, principal secretary to Punjab governor (also vice chairman of Board) and Dr Mohan Paul Singh Ishar, VC Bathinda technical varsity.