Recent recruitment of 44 faculty members in Shivalik College of Pharmacy, Nangal, which is run by Punjab’s Local Bodies department under Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu is under scanner with kin of college principal, staff members and Congress leaders, mostly members of local municipal council being selected by the management. Acting on a complaint by unsuccessful candidates, Sidhu has ordered halting the entire recruitment process. “I have asked the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) to probe the entire matter in depth and submit a report within 15 days,” said Sidhu in a statement.
While 2500 applicants from across the state applied for 60 posts in various departments of the college, all 44 selected recently belong to Nangal, an Assembly segment represented by the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana Kanwat Pal Singh. The candidates’ selection had been finalised, but they were yet to get the recruitment letters. The list of successful candidates includes college Principal D K Prasad’s daughter, an associate professor’s wife, two daugthters of another faculty member, Nangal Congress Block president’s brother, two relatives of a Congress councillor, daughter of Speaker’s close aide, former MC’s daughter-in-law, former Improvement Trust chairman’s daughter-in-law, another senior Congress leader’s daughter, a former Congress councillor’s son and daughter-in-law.
With these details came to light, Director Local Bodies Karunesh Sharma has not signed the file thereby putting on hold the appointment letters to the selected candidates. Prasad admitted to The Indian Express that his daughter, kin of his colleague and Congress leaders’ relatives were on the list. “My daughter’s name appeared in merit. That is how she has been selected. So was the case with others.”
He said the selection was made on the basis of an entrance test conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. All those recruited cleared the test and the process was transparent and fair, he added. Sources also said the college is registered with Punjab Technical University (PTU) and has to act as per guidelines of All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), but all the required guidelines were not followed for the recruitment process. According to them, recruitment was based on 100 per cent marks of the entrance test and no weightage was given to interviews. Also, several requirements for faculty members were tailor-made, they alleged.
The college, set up by Municipal Council, Nangal, one of the richest councils of the state, advertised the posts on October 31. As many as 2500 applications were received and about 2,000 were shortlised for the test. The college had ended the contract of at least 21 faculty members selected during previous government’s tenure before starting recruitment afresh.