Race on for Chandigarh medical institute’s top job

By Jaideep Sarin, IANS,

Chandigarh : Nearly 100 top names from the medical fraternity in the country are likely to be considered for the coveted post of director of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here which falls vacant later this year.

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Sources in the PGIMER said nearly 100 nominations from leading doctors and top medical institute faculty members are expected as the process for applying for the director’s post has already began.

“Thirty-one nominations by universities, medical institutes and colleges and government departments have already been received. More nominations are expected in the next few days,” a senior PGIMER functionary told IANS.

Institute Director K.K. Talwar, a leading cardiologist, retires from the post April 30. He has held the post for seven years.

Talwar was head of the cardiology department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, before he joined the PGIMER in April 2004.

The nomination process for the new director has not been without controversy. The PGIMER governing council decided to keep the upper age limit for the director’s post at 60 but relaxed the limit for government servants and retired officials.

“Even in AIIMS, the age bar is the same for all categories of candidates. This relaxation seems to have been made keeping in mind the eligibility of certain candidates,” said a faculty member who has applied for the post.

Aspirants to the post need to have at least 14 years’ teaching and seven years’ administrative experience.

PGIMER sources said over 25 senior faculty members of the institute were in the race for the director’s post.

“There is a growing demand that the next director should be from within PGIMER,” a senior faculty member told IANS.

Lobbying for the post is likely to intensify in the coming weeks as the institute’s governing body, headed by union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, gets down to finalising the name of the next director.

PGIMER is a leading healthcare and medical research institute on the lines of AIIMS. Set up in 1962 when Chandigarh city was still in its infancy, PGIMER has earned a name for itself in the field of medical research and healthcare facilities in the country and abroad.

The institute was envisioned by the then chief minister of Punjab province Pratap Singh Kairon and supported by first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The main hospital complex of the institute is named Nehru hospital.

The institute is an autonomous body under the union ministry.

PGIMER has at least 10 advanced care centres, including paediatrics, urology, bone marrow transplant, eye, cardiac, oral health care, renal transplant, gastroenterology, telemedicine and public health.

The institute has nearly 50 teaching and research departments.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at [email protected])