The outgoing Panjab University vice-chancellor RC Sobti shares with the Chandigarh Newsline the ups and downs of his tenure and his plan to author a book Reminiscence of a Vice-Chancellor.
Which were the developmental plans which you wished to take up,but have remained unfulfilled so far?
When I had joined,six years ago,I had developed a three-phase vision for the University. The first aimed at stock-taking and intra-departmental strengthening. Second was to encourage inter-departmental interaction and the third was to reach out to the society. The first two phases have been completed well in time. We just began the third phase by initiating socially relevant courses. A lot can be done in this regard.
Which have been your achievements as vice-chancellor?
The biggest challenge before the University,six years ago,was the lack of funds. Over these years,we all made consistent efforts and ensured a grant of Rs 493. 79 crore for the University. In addition to contributing to research work at the University,I also introduced three centres for emerging areas in social sciences. I saw to it that the non-teaching staff of the University also got pensions. I also ensured the relocation of the illegal colony occupying over 250-acre land at Sector 25 and set up an entire south campus over that area by providing space for three new hostels and separate buildings for professional courses.
What are your recommendations and suggestions to your successor?
Just like I had a vision for the University,I am sure Arun Grover (the forthcoming V-C) will have his own vision towards developing the University. I wish him success.
You had a ‘not-so-pleasant’ experience with PUTA – especially in the last one year. What went wrong?
I do not have any complaints against them. They have been presenting their democratic opinion over various issues and there is nothing wrong in exercising one’s rights. They may have pointed out discrepancies in our move many a time,but these were all aimed at ensuring the welfare of the teachers fraternity. Their opinions should not deter the authorities from moving ahead. The objections,likewise,never deterred me from doing what I thought was right.
How has your experience been with the media?
Media has always highlighted the issues related to the University,sometimes causing unpleasant situations for me,but I will still credit it for letting me know my shortcomings. Media has played the role of constructive opposition in my six-year tenure,keeping all of us aware of the happenings at the University both good and bad.
What are your recommendations to the authorities ahead of the student council elections?
We do not have to worry since our students are much better than students in other cities when it comes to maintaining discipline. Youth are always attributed with aggression and energy. It is acceptable sometimes to see them going hyper,but with little intervention of the officials,the students abide by the rules.
Your proposal on green campus failed to take off. What can be done to take the plan forward?
This is one proposal which I failed to take up. I tried a lot in persuade at least the top brass of the University to promote the use of cycles on campus,but I realised that it needed a dramatic change in the mindsets. I will recommend everyone to accept everything in life with a positive approach.