Panjab University fee unrest: V-C calls for senate meeting on May 7 to discuss financial crisis | punjab$chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Panjab University fee unrest: V-C calls for senate meeting on May 7 to discuss financial crisis

Panjab University vice-chancellor, professor Arun Kumar Grover, has called for a special senate meeting to discuss the varsity's financial crisis on May 7.  The issue of fee hike could be discussed during the meeting. Grover has also urged PU Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) president Nishant Kaushal to give up his indefinite hunger strike. It was Kaushal who had made the senators call for the senate meeting.

punjab Updated: Apr 21, 2017 11:11 IST
Panjab University
The issue of additional grant pursuant to submissions of university filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court and Supreme Court of India is on agenda.(HT File )

Panjab University vice-chancellor, professor Arun Kumar Grover, has called for a special senate meeting to discuss the varsity's financial crisis on May 7.  The issue of fee hike could be discussed during the meeting. Grover has also urged PU Campus Students’ Council (PUCSC) president Nishant Kaushal to give up his indefinite hunger strike. It was Kaushal who had made the senators call for the senate meeting.

The issue of additional grant pursuant to submissions of university filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court and Supreme Court of India is on agenda.  All the senate members have been intimated of this meeting and the relevant documents of the court proceedings have been disseminated to them.

“Prof Chaman Lal, prof Ronki Ram, Rabinder Nath Sharma, DPS Randhawa, assistant prof Ajay Ranga, Jagdish Chander Mehta, Anu Chatrath are the signatories among others,” said Kaushal.

Prof Chaman Lal, PU fellow, who was earlier part of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), appealed that fee hike be considered afresh as students’ protests were spreading.  

 “The payment of ₹30.5 crore was to be made to the PU, out of which ₹21.7 crore has been made.  The balance payment of ₹8.8 crore, which was to be made, has been stayed against the high court’s order,” said PU in a press statement.  

Also the core committee of senators, constituted to meet the chief minister of Punjab and Union minister HRD, which was earlier to meet on April 12,  has now been rescheduled to meet on April 27. The core committee consists of the following members: V-C Arun Kumar Grover, former V-C RP Bambah, UT MP Kirron Kher, and senators Satya Pal Jain, Pawan Kumar Bansal, Sanjay Tandon, professor Promila Pathak, Deepak Kaushik, Gurdeep Sharma, professor Navdeep Goyal and professor Ronki Ram.

Invite PU to sort out crisis: MHRD to UGC

Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has asked University Grants Commission (UGC) to hold meeting with Panjab University (PU) to sort out its financial crisis.

PU vice-chancellor professor Arun Kumar Grover confirmed the development. The MHRD has directed the UGC to urgently conduct a meeting with the V-C, so that incongruity with respect to expenditure and revenue plan submitted by PU is resolved and a way forward regarding funding issue is arrived at. The ministry has sought a report from UGC after conducting the meeting latest by April 27.

Notably, the UGC had challenged the order of Punjab and Haryana high court dated January 19 before the apex court where it was ordered to release an additional amount of ₹30.5 crore to PU, out of which ₹21 crore had been paid to PU. MHRD is also a respondent in the case apart from PU.

The PU had earlier submitted a feasible revenue and expenditure plan before the UGC on January 13. The PU pointed out it would have a deficit of ₹244.3 crore in 2017-18, ₹253.4 crore in 2018-19, ₹277.7 crore in 2019-20, ₹296.6 crore in 2020-21 and ₹318 crore in 2021-22.

But the UGC observed, “… the university has not committed to remove revenue deficit over a period of 3 years. The revenue deficit is projected to be increasing from ₹217.73 crore to ₹318.06 crore in the next five years."  It added that the PU had not given any commitment regarding blanket ban on filling of any kind of posts.

Points of disagreement between UGC and PU

UGC wants a blanket ban on any new appointments, including temporary, which the PU has been opposing.  UGC wants ceiling on grant to PU, which it has been opposing.  UGC wants ratio of teaching and non-teaching staff to be 1 : 1 on the pattern of central universities, which PU has been opposing as it is an affiliating university. UGC wants PU to decrease the deficit, but it has been increasing.