With pressure mounting on the state government to make Thapar University (TU) rollback the abolition of 50% domicile quota for Punjab students, the technical education department on Friday asked TU to withdraw the controversial proposal citing bigger role played by the state in bringing the institution to its present level.
"TU has not been established by private hands. Ever since its inception in 1956, from 250 acres of land to the trust running it, the Punjab government has always been kind enough to provide funds to nurture the institute as and when needed. That's why government cannot let TU to do whatever suits the latter," said a letter shot off by principal secretary, technical education, SS Channi to Sudhir Mohan Trehan, chairman of the board of governors, TU.
In the letter, government has categorically asked the institute to maintain status quo in admission to undergraduate engineering courses so as to honour the state's contribution in making TU a high-class institute in the country.
"TU has not come to the present shape on its own. From establishing infrastructure, including state-of-the-art buildings, to paying salaries to its employees, the Punjab government till few years back has contributed on all plan and non-plan expenditure of the institute. Budgetary provisions to the institute were part of annual government budget," the letter read.
In such a scenario, scrapping quota for state students was unbearable and does not appear good on the part of the institution as well, said the letter, a copy of which has been marked to director, TU, and offices of the chief minister and deputy chief minister.
Sources in the government said categorical and hard language of the letter was result of the TU's passive response to the state government's appeals to rollback quota abolition.
"Ever since the issue was reported by HT and government's appeals to TU to rollback the move, the varsity management has not responded to any communication. That's why government has taken a strict posture and has clearly asked TU to revert the decision," said a senior government functionary.
Meanwhile, principal secretary, technical education, said TU director Abhijit Mukherjee would meet him on Monday in Chandigarh to have the management's view over the issue.
"In case, TU refuses to rollback the decision, all options are open before us and we have powers to get the state's due. However, our first preference is to resolve the issue amicably through talks," said Channi.
Meanwhile, outside TU in Patiala, former NSUI state president's indefinite dharna to get the quota back has started evoking good response with many social, political and other organisations extending support to him.
However, silence of Pradesh Congress Committee chief Capt Amarinder Singh over the issue has raised many an eyebrow in the state's political circles, as he happens to be one of the seven trustees running the institute.
In Patiala, Captain's silence over the issue is being attributed to the closeness of Thapar family to Royal family of Patiala.