High-powered Punjab committee slams brakes on CT University

  • Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Aug 11, 2016 11:59 IST

The Punjab government’s eight-member high-powered committee has refused permission to start the proposed CT University in Ludhiana, as the CT Educational Society is yet to fulfil the key conditions.

This yet another private university is being set up by the Jalandhar-based CT Group of Institutions in Jagraon area of Ludhiana over 36 acres of land.

Higher education minister Surjit Singh Rakhra has shown extraordinary interest in pushing the contentious proposal of this university to begin admitting students without fulfilling the conditions.

The panel’s refusal to give the nod means the university cannot start academic operations yet.

“The applicant does not meet the prescribed construction benchmark,” principal secretary (higher education) Roshan Sunkaria said during the August 3 meeting of the high-powered panel headed by chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal.

As per the minutes of the meeting, Chander Parkash Gaind, special secretary (higher education), said there was no provision to give relaxation for completion of the remaining “unconstructed/partially constructed” infrastructure in due course.

“The construction is skeletal in nature, incomplete and grossly inadequate to fulfil the requirements. It is premature to consider the request of the applicant at this stage,” Dr Raj Bahadur, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) vice-chancellor (V-C), said in the meeting. Punjabi University, Patiala, V-C Prof Jaspal Singh “endorsed” Dr Bahadur’s views.

Dr Bahadur also raised the issue of posters and placards put up on the campus and outside the proposed university inviting applications for admissions “even without waiting for the approvals”.

Following this, higher education officers Sunkaria and Gaind were directed to inquire into the matter of the university inviting applications and “bring the correct up-to-date facts” to the notice of the committee in its next meeting.

The BFUHS V-C pointed out that during one of the inspections he found that “even old furniture” was arranged temporarily by the university on the campus.

“Equipment and other necessary fixtures were also temporarily arranged by the applicant from other campuses just to meet the purpose of the inspection,” Dr Bahadur has been quoted as saying in the minutes of the meeting (of which HT has a copy).

The committee comprising bureaucrats and V-Cs has also recorded that the change of land use (CLU) validity of the proposed university had expired on February 4, 2016.

The administrative department (higher education) had no information if the university management had fulfilled the 20 different pre-conditions imposed when the CLU was granted on February 5, 2014, that was valid for two years.

The panel has pointed out that six documents submitted as undertakings by the CT Educational Society were “very cryptic” and didn’t have dates mentioned therein. The university had to submit undertakings, such as progress of the construction, books in the library, equipment, furniture and adherence to University Grants Commission (UGC) norms.

The Punjabi University V-C pointed out that the nomenclature of the proposed courses is not as per the UGC norms or the regulatory authorities of the Union government. Ramanjit Kaur Johal, representative of the Panjab University V-C, “endorsed the views”.

The representative of the finance department, Punjab income tax adviser Surinder Kaur Waraich, said: “It is strange that the proposal of the university does not include basic bachelor and master degree courses...”

Finally, the committee “deferred the clearance” of the case with direction to the higher education department to “ensure strict compliance” of the conditions applied when the letter of intent (LOI) was issued to the society to set up the university.

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