The Punjabi University Re-employed Professors Association (PURPA) condemned the encroachment of the autonomy of the university by the finance department of the Punjab government by dictating terms to the university in its day-to-day functioning.
The PURPA held a meeting at the university campus here on Wednesday, in which a large number of ‘targeted professors’ participated. They wondered how come an official of the rank of an under secretary in the finance department could write a letter, demanding an undertaking from the university authorities against the national policy of the University Grants Commission (UGC) in relation to the re-employment of professors, duly approved and adopted by all the university bodies.
It is pertinent to mention here that officials of the education and finance departments of the Punjab government are representatives of the state government on these bodies. The meeting demanded immediate withdrawal of the aforesaid letter to maintain the sanctity and dignity of the university. The members decided to seek time to meet the governor, Punjab, and chancellor of the university, to apprise him of the seriousness of the situation, created by a small group of disgruntled elements, who do not represent legitimately any section of the university by taking undue advantage of this letter.
Dr Jaswinder Singh, convener of the PURPA, said, “The letter of the government is an attack on the autonomy of the university. The Punjab government is releasing grant by putting riders which is against the rules laid by the UGC.”
They decided to acquaint the governor with the uncalled-for intervention by the state government that affects the smooth functioning of this premier institute. A majority of the professors, present in the meeting, who have served the university for 30-40 years, expressed their readiness to make their services available even without charging any financial benefits in the larger interests of the students, especially research students, who were in the midst of carrying out their PhD and MPhil degrees in case it helps the university to come out of its present financial crisis.
Non-teaching staff firm on demand
The protest by the non-teaching staff union entered its 7th day and protesters blocked the entrance of the vice-chancellor’s office and didn’t allow anyone to enter the office. The protestors are demanding that they will lift the dharna only when the University relieves all re-employed teaching and non-teaching employees. They said that if the university fails to release the salary by Thursday, they will start an indefinite hunger strike.