Chandigarh: 24 May:The department of Physics on the campus of Panjab University is one of the oldest departments with total 45 sanctioned positions for the faculty.
And today the teachers and students of this department were on the chain fast. C.N. Kumar, Bimal Rai, and A.K. Bhati were three teachers and Vineet Khullar was a research scholar from the department of Physics who sat on the fast demanding central university status for P.U. Gautam Bahl, Suman Sumi and Gagandeep Kaur Uppal, staff members of A.C Joshi Library also sat on the 48th day of the fast today.
The department has brought many laurels for the country as a whole, and at the moment has three major international collaborations in research with USA and Europe. Prof Yashpal, former Chairman UGC, is the product of this department, told Dr Bhati from the dharna site. It was the first department among all the universities in the country to set up cyclotron facilities for nuclear research as early as in 1971. Prof H.S. Hans was instrumental in setting up Cyclotron. Encouraged at the achievements and the success of the facility of cyclotron at PU, the UGC has set up an Inter-University Accelerator Centre at New Delhi to offer facility for the researchers in nuclear physics. The DST has also sanctioned an amount of Rs.70 crore for setting up another accelerator to facilitate research in material sciences, biological and geological science where research on cancer will also be carried out, told Dr C.N. Kumar.
It is an honour for the department of Physics that UGC has sanctioned Centre for Advanced Study in Physics. Dr Bimal Rai disclosed that the department is planning to introduce new self-financing courses in the near future. When asked that why are you on fast for the central university status for PU, Dr Rai complained that, achievements apart, the department at present is facing serious crisis of faculty, technical staff, and other lab facilities. The sanctioned strength of the faculty is 45 whereas only 29 teachers are on the rolls at the moment. Consequently many of the specializations in the department have to be shut down. In the labs the number of technical staff has come down drastically and it is an uphill task to carry out quality research under such circumstances. In the central universities, on the other hand, there is a ‘crisis’ of how to spend funds.