Technical Education Minister Madan Mohan Mittal today accused Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal of taking arbitrary decisions as chairman of the Board of Governors of two state technical universities.Mittal, who was here as the guest of honour during the convocation ceremony of IK Gujral Punjab Technical University, alleged: “It is because of his way of functioning that we have not been able to appoint the vice-chancellor of PTU. He does not let any officer speak up his mind. The principal secretary recently tried to raise his voice against the appointment of registrar at Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University, Bathinda, but his voice was suppressed.”Referring to officiating PTU VC Rakesh Verma, who was present on the occasion, Mittal said: “Do you think this VC has any authority to overrule what the Chief Secretary tells him? They all know that if they will counter him, their ACRs will be spoiled and they will get odd postings.
“On CS’s claim of bringing in transparency, he alleged: “How will he improve the working of the universities? He has so far not been able to even clean up his own secretariat. He is hell bent upon diluting the autonomy of the universities.”Mittal alleged: “I had reached out to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani to get the distance education programme restarted, but the CS set up a committee for the purpose to delay it.”Kaushal and Mittal have been at loggerheads ever since the process of appointing PTU VC began last year. The CS, who was heading the selection committee, had recommended three persons with Dr MP Poonia of NITTTR, Chandigarh, listed on the top. Mittal had returned the file asking for two additional names. “Kaushal could have easily added any two names. But he did not. The file is pending with the Chief Minister since then,” the minister said.On the likely reshuffle of ministerial berths by the state BJP, Mittal said he was ready to quit if told to.
“I have got a message for a party meeting on May 13. But I don’t think that they will make any cabinet changes at this time,” he said.Reacting to the allegations levelled by Mittal, Kaushal said: “I have had cordial relations with Mittal for the past 30 years. He is upset because the selection committees for VCs of both technical universities did not find candidates recommended by him suitable. Regarding the registrar, I was not a part of the selection committee and therefore had no role to play. The BOG has non-official members and industrialists too and has so far taken all decisions unanimously. The question of taking arbitrary decisions does not arise. The BOG has to go into the merits and demerits of the proposals so as to avoid any controversy.”