Taking cognisance of the alleged financial irregularities in Punjab Technical University (PTU), the chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday said that the state government has decided to order a “special audit” of the Punjab Technical University (PTU) finances.
“We will also ask the university authorities to strictly adhere to the section 23 of the PTU act pertaining to submission of its annual report on income and expenditure to the state government,” Badal, who was here to attend 25th death anniversary of Sant Baba Avtar Singh, said Section 23 of the PTU act mandated that accounts of the income and expenditure of the university shall be submitted once in every year to the state government for such examinations and audit as the state government may direct. The accounts, when audited, shall be published in the Punjab government gazette.
But, neither university acted as per law nor government ordered audit to check financial irregularities in past seven years. Interestingly, the PTU’s finance committee had also termed work allotment to some firms as a violation of the central vigilance commission guidelines and asked the university to stop payments to these firms after March 31. But, the finance committee decision was not implemented till date.
“The special audit will help us properly regulate the public funds. Besides, financial irregularities, if any, will be dealt with as per law,” Badal quipped, adding that none would be spared in this case.
Earlier addressing the gathering, Badal exhorted the peasantry to come out of this wheat-paddy cycle by diversifying the crop pattern. “It is high time to stop producing paddy since majority of states are now self sufficient on this count. Let we concentrate on basmati rice, which consumes less water and fetches high market value,” he said.
He advised the farmers to start cultivation of maize in a big way to reduce area under paddy cultivation. “The centre should frame a policy to encourage maize cultivation by fixing its minimum support price and proper procurement by government agencies,” he said.
He said that state’s ambitious crop diversification program was aimed at supplementing the income of farmers especially the small and marginal ones besides checking the alarmingly depleting ground water due its ‘over exploitation’.
He said that with the centre was extending incentives to non paddy growing states and the message was loud and clear to the farmers of the state that either they should resort to crop diversification to ensure their existence or perish.
Badal said that with the aim to increase 25% water supply in the rivers and minors by preventing its wastage through leakage or seepage, the state government has embarked a major program of strengthening the canals and minors in Punjab. He said that in the coming two years the entire canal water irrigation system of the state would be completely transformed so as to save the ground water by reducing pressure on the tube wells.
He reiterated that the centre’s failure in checking the drug trafficking across the border was grossly responsible for the menace of drugs in the state. He said that the security agencies manning the borders were deployed by the Centre and the state had hardly any role in it.