Bringing to an end the rule of Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers in Inder Kumar Gujral-Punjab Technical University (IKG-PTU), Kapurthala, the Punjab cabinet on Wednesday decided to remove the chief secretary as the chairman of its Board of Governors.
The cabinet has decided to restore the varsity’s original provisions, wherein a person of eminence from the field of industry used to be the board chief. It was in May 2015 that the previous Akali government had brought senior ‘babus’ at the helm of affairs in the university, with the chief secretary being made the board chairman. Also, the principal secretary, technical education, was made the vice-chairman of the board — the topmost decision-making body of the varsity.
The move had faced criticism from various quarters and it was alleged that a few IAS officers wanted to rule the technical university, which is rich in funds.
It was after these amendments that the then chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal faced open criticism from the then technical education minister Madan Mohan Mittal. Mittal had alleged that ‘babus’ were calling the shots in the university without taking him into confidence.
In the past two years, the varsity has remained without a regular vice-chancellor and the charge was given to the principal secretary, technical education. Kaushal’s blue-eyed IAS officer Rakesh Verma held the charge for almost two years with Kaushal as the board chairman.
The increase in the powers of bureaucrats came at the expense of the technocrats’ say, who were in the original act crucial partners to advise the boards on latest demands of the industry.
“The cabinet has decided that the Board of Governors chairman will be a national-level technocrat or famous industrial figure. However, the principal secretary, technical education, will continue as the vice-chairman,” said principal secretary, technical education, KS Pannu, adding the board will also have the power to remove its chairman.
The board has 15 members, comprising seven ex-officio members and six nominated ones. Director, technical education, and principal secretary, finance, are the two IAS officers in the board.
The same board structure will be followed in the recently formed Maharaja Ranjit Singh Technical University in Bathinda as well, said a government’s spokesperson.
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