Top two contenders skip interview for PTU V-C post
HT had earlier reported that Punia and Awasthi were hesitant to appear for the interview, keeping in view their present prestigious postings. They had not even applied for the post in the fresh applications invited by the Congress government.punjab Updated: Sep 10, 2017 11:38 IST
Two main contenders for the post of vice-chancellor of Inder Kumar Gujaral-Punjab Technical University Kapurthala (IKG-PTU) did not appear before the selection panel on Saturday. This comes a few days after Punjab government shortlisted eight candidates for the final interview.
- Interestingly, out of total six applicants, five are from non-Punjabi background. The only applicant from IKG-PTU, AP Singh, hails from Uttar Pradesh while Ajay Sharma and Rakesh Sehgal (NIT Hamirpur professor) are from Himachal. Yoginder Yadav belongs to Haryana and KK Raina is from Jammu.
- Speaking to HT, technical education minister Charanjit Channi, denied that Punjabi background will be a criterion while appointment of the V-C.
- “We want the best academician and administrator for this top job. The government will appoint a person who is suited best for the job and brings an off-track university to mainstream,” said Channi.
Renowned educationalist MP Punia and professor Lalit Awasthi, director, National Institute of Technology (NIT), Jalandhar, failed to appear before the selection panel formed by the government under the chairmanship of former V-C of IKG-PTU Dr SK Salwan.
HT had earlier reported that Punia and Awasthi were hesitant to appear for the interview, keeping in view their present prestigious postings. They had not even applied for the post in the fresh applications invited by the Congress government.
Punia, All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) vice-chairman, was reportedly requested by technical education minister Charanjit Channi to appear before the panel. It was said that there was unanimity at the government-level to appoint Punia as the next V-C, courtesy his academic record.
Under the SAD-BJP regime, a selection panel, headed by then chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, had shortlisted Punia as a top contender among a list of three candidates. But since the then technical education minister Madan Mohan Mittal was strongly opposed to Kaushal’s decision-making, Punia’s name was not given the go-ahead by the government. Punia was director, NITTTR, at that time.
Even as the selection panel had reportedly suggested shortlisting of top three contenders after the interview , the government, however, after Punia and Awasthi’s exit is now left with “fewer choices”, said sources.
Leading the race now, as per sources, is professor BK Ratan, former chairman of Chemical Engineering department of Panjab University, Chandigarh. “With a non-controversial image and no direct political affiliation, Ratan is one of the strongest candidates. He is sure to be in the panel,” said a senior official of the technical education department.
Another key contender for the post is Dr Ajay Sharma, director of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Delhi, who also holds additional charge of director, NIT Hamirpur and newly opened Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Una district of Himachal Pradesh. “Though the final selection has to be done by the government, but academic and administrative experience of both Ratan and Ajay Sharma is hard to ignore,” said a government official.