Majority of students of Panjab University (PU) wants a ban on students’ four-wheelers in academic zones on the campuses in Sectors 14 and 25. The voting had taken place along with the Panjab University Campus Students’ Council elections on August 26.
For Sector 14 campus, as many as 3,315 students voted in favour of a ban on four-wheelers belonging to the students, while 2,916 voted against it. The margin was 399 votes.
For Sector 25 campus, as many as 3,200 students wanted a ban on four-wheelers belonging to students, while 3,034 were in favour of allowing the entry of vehicles. The margin was 166 votes.
There are departments which didn’t respond to the voting. Also, even if a student has his department located in one campus, he or she could vote for the second campus also.
Talking to HT, Damanpreet, general secretary of Students For Society (SFS), who took part in the counting of votes on the referendum, said, “Law department was not in favour of vehicle-free zone, but the dental sciences department was in favour of it. University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) voted in favour of vehicle-free campus in Sector 14, but not in Sector 25.”
SFS members had volunteered to count the votes. How the idea took shape The idea of vehicle-free academic zones has been going around for a couple of years, but carrying out a referendum was decided after protest by Students For Society (SFS) activists.
The SFS had raked up the issue after the sexual harassment incident on June 25, in which some residents of a girls’ hostel were harassed by three boys. It started from near the gate of girls’ hostel numbers 3 and 4 at about 8.30pm where a group of girls were present. Three boys, probably drunk, turned up in a jeep and started flashing jeep’s headlights. They also passed some lewd comments. When the girls retaliated, the boys followed them till the market of Sector 15, where one of the boys removed his trouser and made obscene gestures and abused the girls.
“On June 26, a complaint was filed before Panjab University Committee Against Sexual Harassment (PUCASH). But nothing happened.
Then on July 21 we launched a protest which continued for 12 days. During talks with the PU administration, we were assured that a referendum would be carried out,” said Damanpreet. How will it be implemented “The academic zones are area around academic blocks. But earmarking of roads for not allowing students’ four-wheelers are yet to be done. Other modalities are yet to be finalised,” clarified director public relations Vineet Punia.
PU registrar Col GS Chadha (retd) said the university was considering the options of e-rickshaws and bus shuttles in academic areas of the varsity campuses. Earlier, a committee consisting of PU registrar, dean students welfare Navdeep Goyal, chief security officer Dr Jatinder Grover, PU nonteaching employees federation chief Deepak Kaushik, the then campus students council president Divyanshu Budhiraja had recommended the availability of e-rickshaws at Gates No. 1, 2 and 3 for the convenience of students and others. The committee had suggested that the e-rickshaw should be outsourced and rates be fixed by a standing committee.