While Punjab Agricultural University gets a large part of its income through the sale of seeds,the post of director (seeds) has been vacant for more than two years with an official,who has no experience in seed production,still holding charge.
The post fell vacant on July 1,2011,following which a six-member selection committee,headed by Vice-Chancellor Dr B S Dhillon was formed. According to information provided by PAU in an RTI,seven candidates applied for the post and appeared for interview on August 7,2011,but were all rejected. They include Dr Joginder Singh Brar,director of PAUs Raja Harinder Singh Seed Farm in Faridkot; Dr S R Sharma,senior plant breeder; Dr Avtar Singh,senior agronomist; Dr B S Kang,associate director of KVK,Langroya; Dr Paramjit Singh Brar,senior maze breeder,and Dr H S Muker,director of the university seed farm at Naraingarh.
The detailed bio-data of the candidates shows that Dr Joginder Brar has been the director of the seeds farm since 2000. He was earlier the seed production specialist at Faridkot and has total practical experience of 21 years in seed production and 31 years of experience in total. He did his PhD in agronomy from Russia and was awarded as the outstanding teacher by PAU in 2012 after he was rejected for the post.
Similarly,with 25 years of experience in seed production and overall experience of 34 years,Dr S R Sharma,senior plant breeder PAU and the earlier director of university seeds farm in Ladhowal was rejected. Dr H S Muker,with 18 years of experience in seed production and the director of university seed farm,Naraingarh,and Dr B S Kang with eight years of experience in seed production were also found not suitable for the post. Sources said the university modified the selection criteria and added plant pathology as an acceptable qualification,while originally it was only specialists in plant breeding,agronomy and vegetable crops with experience in seed production/seed technology who were eligible for the posts.
But the documents of the interview results dated August 7,2011,obtained under RTI,do not mention on what basis the candidates were rejected. Marks for points like academics,publications,experience and other basis have not been clarified by the committee.
Surprising, Dr S R Sharma, who was found unsuitable for the post in an interview,was given additional charge of the post. On his retirement in 2012,Dr H S Randhawa,who is a PhD in plant pathology,was given the additional charge.
The post has also not been advertised even once since 2011. According to the RTI information,Randhawa does not have a single days field experience in university seed farms. He has worked in plant pathology (millet section) and as the senior plant pathologist in directorate of seeds since 1998.