A sudden decision to extend the tenure of the Giani Zail Singh Punjab Technical University campus director has dashed hopes of many eligible candidates who were expecting to be appointed on the basis of merit.
Punjab Technical University had invited online applications for the appointment of campus director at the Giani Zail Singh campus in Bathinda from July 30 to August 20.
The board of governors called a meeting in Ludhiana on August 22 where there was no agenda to appoint the campus director. Suddenly, item number 17.11 on the agenda was introduced towards the end of the meeting which sought to give a two-year extension to present campus director, Jasbir Singh Hundal.
In the advertisement published for the same post, the university had set qualifications such as 10 years experience as professor for candidates appearing for the post. However, Hundal does not meet the criteria as he became a professor in 2006 but was still allowed to continue on the post.
The extension given to Hundal dismissed the recruitment process by default. Around 20 applicants were competing for the post.
Hundal, a physics professor, had joined as principal of the College of Engineering & Technology, Bathinda, on September 10, 2011, on a three-year tenure. The Punjab government subsequently transferred the state government established college to Punjab Technical University as its constituent college on December 20, 2011, and Hundal became its first director. Meanwhile, Hundal's three-year-term ended on September 9, 2014.
To become eligible for the 10 crore grant under a World Bank assisted project, Rajinder Gupta, an industrialist from Trident Group, was appointed chairman of the board of governors on March 15, 2012.
Earlier, technical education minister of Punjab was the ex-officio chairman of the board but under World Bank conditions, a politician cannot be the head of the board of governors.
Interestingly, the agenda to re-appoint Hundal was introduced in the absence of PTU vice chancellor Rajnish Arora. Hundal was present in the meeting and left the room just when item number 17.11 was introduced.
Rajinder Gupta was also present in the meeting of the board as chairman and soon after making the decision, he joined the Akali Dal. Thus, he is no longer eligible to be the chairman of the board.
Another member present in the meeting was Rajinder Mittal who was recently sentenced to four years imprisonment by a Patiala CBI court on charges of food adulteration.
PTU V-C Rajnish Arora and board of governors chairman Rajinder Gupta did not comment on the issue despite repeated phones calls and messages.