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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Capt Amarinder opposes giving away Punjabi University land for school

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Patiala, December 23, 2013
First Published: 20:21 IST(23/12/2013) | Last Updated: 20:23 IST(23/12/2013)

Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday strongly opposed the move to provide about six acres of Punjabi University land for an Adarsh School within the campus.

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In press statement, Amarinder said the university was already short of space and needed more land for the construction of teaching and administrative blocks besides hostels.

"Moreover, setting up a school within a University campus will dilute the higher academic character of the University", he said.
 
He pointed out that there is an entirely different academic culture in a university as compared to the school and the standards of higher learning need to be maintained.

"Punjabi University is an institution of high repute, acknowledged internationally and setting up a school within the campus defies all logic", he said.

He said he was not against setting up of Adarsh Schools,  but he was certainly against setting up it within the university campus as the government could easily provide alternate land for the school anywhere outside the campus.

The cash-strapped university had courted a controversy following the decision by the syndicate of the university to hand over 5.6 acre of prime land to the state government free of cost for opening of a special school. The market value of the land has been estimated at nearly Rs. 100 crore.

The state government has decided to open six Adarsh residential schools across the state, especially for the students with more than 80% marks in their matriculation examination. After the schools are set up, the government is likely to hand over the schools to private parties.

"The government should revise its move to set up a school within the university campus and save the higher academic atmosphere from getting saturated, besides snatching away the prime land from the university which is already facing land shortage for its extension",Singh said.

The case history

Interestingly, earlier, the government was trying to get shamlat land at Karmgarh village on the Patiala-Sirhind road for the setting up of the school, but failed to acquire it following resistance of local villagers.

After this, the state government knocked the doors of Punjabi University vice chancellor Dr Jaspal Singh, who immediately agreed to donate prime land worth 5.6 acre  free of cost.

Though the university authorities claimed themselves to be an autonomous body, but their philanthropic gesture towards the state government raised several questions following which students and faculty under banner of the Democratic teacher's front lodged peaceful protest against university's decision.

However, recently Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka made an announcement to construct the school on the university land inspite of the protest.

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