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HindustanTimes Sat,26 Jul 2014

World Punjabi Centre turns 'white elephant'

Vishal Rambani and Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times  Patiala, July 29, 2013
First Published: 22:07 IST(29/7/2013) | Last Updated: 22:10 IST(29/7/2013)

The World Punjabi Centre (WPC) at Punjabi University is doing 'little' to promote Punjabi language at a global level and but the authorities are now docked for alleged misappropriation of government funds.

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A day before the first south Asian Punjabi Conference on the 'future of Punjabi language, literature and culture in south Asia: challenges and prospects,' a literature written by former professor of Punjabi S Tarsem and Mittar Sen Meet, editors of the supplement 'Nazaria', exposed the alleged mismanagement in the university.

Information procured under Right to Information Act by S Tarsem, alleged that besides spending unnecessarily on travelling and arranging lunch for the guests on several occasions, WPC authorities have allegedly misused the funds while organising seminars and conferences in the past five financial years.

According to information, WPC had organised only five seminars independently on which it spent around Rs. 3.5 lakh.

In 2008-2009, WPC had conducted no seminars, conferences and festivals yet it has mentioned Rs. 80,548 as expenditure in the annual balance sheet.

According to the RTI information, in 2009-2010, four different seminars were organised by WPC at several places and it spent around Rs. 2 lakh as per RTI information. However, in its annual balance sheet, it had declared only Rs. 1.13 lakh.

However, three seminars were conducted in 2010-2011 and around Rs. 46,483 was spent on it. But the authorities had mentioned Rs. 1.08 lakh and failed to give any details about the remaining amount."Out of the total 3.5 lakh arranged for four seminars, Rs. 1.15 lakh was spent for arranging 'chole-puri'," said Tarsem.

Meanwhile, 1.11 lakh had been spent on giving travelling allowance and dearness allowance to guests, who were invited to attend the programmes, accused Tarsem.

Notably, WPC has spent around Rs. 34 lakh for dispersing salaries of four persons working from the past three years despite having no uniformity in the distribution of salaries.

Presently, WPC has a director, an office in-charge, care taker and a peon-cum-driver.
 
Official speaks

Director's speak, Dr Deepak Manmohan Singh 
 Refuting the allegations, director Deepak Manmohan Singh said they had organised more than 100 programmes to promote Punjabi in different parts of the world. All the money spent on the programmes was procured from the interest of Rs. 2 crore deposited in bank.
 
RTI seeker: S Tarsem, former Punjab Professor at Government College, Malerkotla
 
My motive was not to attack anyone. If we have constituted the WPC for the welfare of Punjabi language, it should do the needful. The government should inquire into the matter as the figures provided by RTI is astonishing.


 

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