The Punjab government will upgrade Giani Zail Singh Engineering College, Bathinda, to the proposed Maharaja Ranjit Singh Technical University with the help of existing resources — funds, land and staff — of Punjab Technical University (PTU) and the existing college.
For the proposed move, which faced opposition from some quarters, the state government will utilise half of the fixed deposit of the corpus fund of Rs. 1,000 crore and meet other expenses such as salary etc.
A senior PTU official confirmed division of the corpus fund through which PTU gets Rs. 90 crore interest annually to meet its expenses. As far as land and staff to run the university is concerned, the college, set up in 1989, has 156.6 acres of land and also has requisite infrastructure for establishing the technical university.
The Bathinda college has 123 faculty members. “The government will not have to shell out even a single penny from its budget and the long-pending demand of people and the college faculty will be fulfilled. For Badals, it is a win-win situation,” said a BJP functionary.
As PTU has been in the thick of controversies over opening of a number of colleges, questions have been raised as why instead of opening up a new university the government is not taking care of it.
In 2011, the Bathinda college which was earlier funded by the Punjab government as an autonomous body, was handed over to PTU after the government failed to pay the salaries for its employees.
Former PTU vice-chancellor Dr SK Salwan, said, “I am not in favour or against the state government’s proposal. But the government must rethink this since several other states with two technical universities failed to provide quality education.”