Claims by the SOI to bring in funds worth Rs 10 crore for five long-pending projects of Panjab University, out of which Rs 7 crore was for the benefit of girls, have fallen flat. The Students Organisation of India is the student wing of Shiromani Akali Dal.
Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had announced financial aid to PU during a crisis in the financial year 2015-16. Washing machines in all nine girls’ hostels, a world-class gym and solar power panels, among others were some of the promised facilities. Most of these facilities were female-oriented as girls comprise over 65% of the voters on campus.
The deputy CM had also announced that Rs 5 crore will be released by the government, in addition to more funds as and when required by the university. Funds for the washing machines for girls were to borne by the government, he had said.
However, none of the plans have been implemented so far, although SOI claims to have fulfilled all the proposals made in their manifesto.
Simranjit Singh Dhillon, chief spokesperson and general secretary of SOI, said, “Whatever we promised to the university, we have almost fulfilled it. We made history because only our organisation managed to do something for the campus.”
He added, “It’s been a while since we had handed over a cheque worth Rs 10 lakh to PU authorities to buy washing machines for girls but the registrar is not taking it up and that cheque remains unused. Meanwhile, there are solar panels on the roofs of most hostels and the gym is still under construction. We have also submitted a cheque to replace old fans but none of the departments ever sent in information stating their needs. We will be submitting another cheque for bus services in another week’s time. I strongly believe that the delay is on behalf of PU authorities. We are doing our part.”
Jasmeen Kang, former president of the PU student council, said, “We did our work diligently, even beyond our own imagination and expectations. We had asked PU authorities to put up a representation so we could take it up with the deputy CM because we have cooperated with varsity officials in every way. It’s just that the process got delayed for some reason.”
No alliance this time
Dhillon said this time there were no plans for an alliance with any other student organisation. “Last year, it was our first victory and we did not wish to take any risk but this time we are confident and have our own contesting for the four posts in the student council. However, with time, we shall analyse the status of the party.”
Last year, SOI allied with Himachal Students Union (HIMSU), National Students Organisation (NSO) and Indian National Students Organisation (INSO). The Akali student wing also received support from Gandhi Group Students Union (GGSU), Pal Pehelwan Students Organisation (PPSO) and Youth Welfare Association (YUWA).
SOI fought elections in 2013
The SAD launched its youth wing in 2006. However, SOI fought elections for the first time in 2013 and the party was relaunched after a senior SOPU (Student Organisation of Panjab University) leader joined it.
That year, it lost the president’s post by a margin of 58 votes. However in 2015, they won all seats.