No representative of the Punjab government was present at Thapar University's board of governors' (BoG) meeting during which it was decided to abolish the quota for Punjab students, it is learnt.
As per BoG rules, the principal secretary, finance, and principal secretary, technical education, Punjab, by virtue of their posts, are members of the institute's governing body.
At the February 24 meeting, as per documents with HT, no government representative was present when the decision was taken under agenda item 76.18, citing University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines to recruit students on all-India merit basis.
The two government nominees on the BoG were not even informed about the decision to scrap the quota.
Besides the chairman and vice-chairman of the BoG and two representatives from the TU faculty, the director and five other members nominated by the TU management on the BoG were present at the meeting.
"We have already conveyed our resentment, stating that no prior information was given to the government before abolishing the quota," said principal secretary, technical education, SS Channi.
Will take up matter with PM: Sangrur MP
Demanding that the Punjab government should sincerely take up the matter with the TU management for restoration of the state quota, Congress MP from Sangrur Vijay Inder Singla on Sunday said he would raise the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"The state's efforts so far have lacked seriousness despite the sensitivity of the issue. Depending on the outcome of Monday's meeting, I will urge the PM to issue necessary directions, if needed," said Singla, who on Sunday evening sat on an indefinite dharna being staged outside TU by former NSUI state chief Harpal Singh and his supporters.
The MP said TU had brought down the state quota from 85% to 50% in 2006. The current move is aimed at forfeiting the state's right over the university it nurtured," said Singla.
He urged the state government to keep a check on the functioning of TU to safeguard interests of students of the state. He also received a memorandum from Harpal Singh.
Varsity-govt talks today
The TU management would spell out its stand on the quota issue before the Punjab government on Monday. University director Abhijit Mukherjee would represent the management during the talks, while principal secretary, technical education, SS Channi would lead the government team.
Sources said Mukherjee, who was in Mumbai on Saturday, had discussed the issue at length with the chairman of the Board of Governors (BoG) of the institute, Sudhir Mohan Trehan, who returned from abroad that day.
As per technical education department officials, the government would again press the university to roll back the move to abolish quota for admissions in undergraduate engineering classes. Sources in the government said TU could suggest a middle path over the issue, citing pressure to implement UGC guidelines, and may bargain to decrease the quota for Punjab instead of altogether abolishing it.