Union human resource development minister Smriti Zubin Irani has asked the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) to map the requirements of the states where they exist and work for their fulfilment.
She was addressing a gathering on Monday after laying the foundation stone of Central University of Punjab (CUP) at Ghudda village near Bathinda, where 20 days ago, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had performed the groundbreaking ceremony. “The IIT at Rupnagar can introduce a course to serve the technological needs of Punjab’s food-processing industry, and I am hopeful it will sign an agreement with ministry of food-processing industries on this,” she said. The CM’s daughter-in-law, Harsimrat Kaur Badal is in charge of this Union ministry.
“Even the IIM in Amritsar can help Punjab in matters of farm technology, rural management, food processing etc,” she said. The new campus of the CUP would be ready in 18 months, she said.
“To ensure that students in government institutions get quality education, the Centre has introduced a programme to hire internationally acclaimed teachers for a semester and agreed to pay for it,” she said, asked CUP authorities to consult the University Grants Commission (UGC) on which international teachers to invite. She referred to free Wi-Fi given by the Centre in all central universities and asked the CUP to get it installed.
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal provided lighter moments at the ceremony when, in his speech, he described the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress as ‘shurlebaaz’ (windbags) who made irrelevant allegations. Addressing Irani, the CM said: “You promise that the central university will manage all the schools within 5 miles but I request you to make it 25 miles. Should I announce it on your behalf?” Again looking at Irani, he said: “Ho gaya ji, ho gaya ji (it’s sanctioned, it’s sanctioned).”
Seeking new projects for the state from Irani, he said: “Sanu vadda jeha to hafa davo ji (Please, give us some huge gift). Irani went up to him immediately and said it’s daughter who goes away with a gift when she comes to her father, and the CM replied: “I am ready to even give my life.” He then asked for Punjab-model meritorious schools in each block of the country to provide children from poor economic class with quality education.
Drugs: Sukhbir flays Rajasthan
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said on the occasion that it was unfortunate that Rajasthan had re-opened its poppy husk outlets that the Supreme Court had ordered to be closed. “In a democratic country, there can’t be two laws on the same issue. Punjab is exploring legal options,” he told reporters.
The crowd was served special langar. The SGPC had sent a team over, though its members said the administration was bearing the cost.
Jobless linemen dragged out
The SAD leadership at the foundation-stone-laying venue was left embarrased when some unemployed linemen sneaked into the gathering and raised slogans against the Punjab government as soon as deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal began his address. After a moment of shock, police dragged the protesters out of the rally venue. The embarrassment caused Sukhbir to raise his pitch to stop the gathering from being distracted. An upset senior official was heard saying: "What were the CID (criminal investigation department) people doing? How did the protesters get in?" The 13 protesters were taken to the police station.
One state, different ranks
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and his daughter-in-law and Union minister for food processing industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal, it seemed, forgot to share notes before their speeches. While Harsimrat said Punjab has attained Ist position in education sector, the chief minister said the state after rigorous efforts has attained 3rd position in the education sector across the country and would soon be at top position.
The crowd at Dashmesh college in Badal village gave a loud cheer when HRD minister Smriti Irani and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal went to the stage to join girls performing ‘giddha’. Both central ministers also performed ‘kikli’, a Punjabi folk dance move.