Taking serious note of Punjabi University's decision to hand over prime land to the Punjab government free of cost, union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari, a member parliament from Ludhiana, has written to Punjab governor Shivraj Patil, urging him to immediately look into the matter.
Reacting on a presentation sent to Tewari by the Democratic Teachers' Front of the university, he said it was meaningless to give land to the state government when the university itself was facing dearth of space.
“The matter needs immediate and urgent attention of the governor, who is also the chancellor of the university,” Tewari said.
The teachers' front had sought Tewari's intervention in preventing the “unauthorised” transfer of the land worth around Rs. 5.75 crore to the government free of cost for setting up of a model school.
“The issues raised by the teachers were quite serious - when the university itself was short of space, how it could afford to give huge chuck of land to the government for setting up of a school that would be purportedly run by some private company in near future,” Tewari observed.
With an objective to provide better educational facilities, the state government has decided to open six Adarsh residential schools across Punjab, especially for the students having scored 80% in their matriculation examination. Moreover, as soon as the school comes into being, the government will hand over the schools to private firms.
Tewari further observed that giving land free of cost would further deteriorate fiscal condition of the university, which was already reeling under acute financial crisis.
“There has already been delay in payments of pensions, provident funds, retirement benefits such as gratuity, leave encashment, dearness allowance, arrears, examination and construction and other benefits due to financial crunch,” he said.
Tewari added that he came to know that there was acute shortage of hostel, particularly for girls, as around half of them are putting up in paying guest accommodations.
“Moreover, land on the university campus is more suitable for girls' hostel from safety and security point of view rather than for setting up of a school,” he said.
“The university has exhausted much of the land on its campus by adding new academic departments, administrative buildings, sports provisions and cultural halls as per their requirements from time to time. This land is the only available premises with the University for further expansion,” he added.