Punjabi University officiating V-C appoints new registrar, employee unions threaten to intensify stir
Punjabi University officiating vice-chancellor Ravneet Kaur on Thursday started making new appointments for top administrative posts and designated senior professor Varinder Kumar Kaushik as the varsity registrar for one year even as the teaching and non-teaching staff unions threatened to intensify their protest against the move.
Kaur, a senior IAS officer, along with Patiala deputy commissioner Kumar Amit and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vikram Jeet Duggal visited the university campus and held meetings with the faculty members who recently tendered their resignations from various administrative posts. She also held discussions with representatives of the Punjabi University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) and other unions to end the deadlock.
Kaushik, who is from the varsity’s Punjab school of law, had unsuccessfully contested against incumbent PUTA president Nishan Singh Deol in the last elections.
The appointments for other top posts such as dean academic affairs, controller of examination, dean colleges and director planning and monitoring are also under consideration, it was learnt. The varsity’s functioning has come to a standstill for over a week after 40 senior faculty members tendered resignations from various posts, accusing the officiating V-C of working in an autocratic manner. They are also miffed over non-clearance of 105 promotion cases.
“The new registrar has been appointed on priority basis as the university has to be run. We need to finalise and approve the annual budget to run the institution’s affairs. We cannot afford further deadlock. Meetings are being held to make other top appointments as the names of faculty members are under consideration,” said the officiating V-C.
“In the past one week, I have held three meetings with outgoing registrar Devinder Sidhu but he was reluctant to come on board again,” she added.
Candlelight march held on campus
PUTA and other employee unions on Thursday staged a protest and held a candlelight march on the campus over the decision to appoint the new registrar.
“We strongly oppose the appointment of new registrar as the administration has resorted to divide-and-rule ploy. The officials are using pressure tactics to force other teachers to rejoin their administrative posts,” Deol said.
“We will intensify our protest in the coming days and won’t allow the varsity administration to work till our demands are met,” he added.
The protesters have locked the registrar’s office and stalled the administrative work.