The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) has slapped a fine of Rs 5.5 lakh on Punjabi University for unauthorised use of electricity.
The action has been taken after a raiding team detected the illegality at a private ‘hostel’, which is outside the boundary of the university, but still was provided power connection from the varsity campus.
The PSPCL raid was conducted on the complaint of Pushpinder Gill, a professor of management studies, who had lodged a complaint with the chancellor, alleging financial and administrative bungling in the varsity.
In fact, the raid has opened the lid off the can of worms as it has come to the fore that the university had taken this 25-room private hostel on rent for an exorbitant rent of Rs 35 lakh per year. Also, an illegal passage to the ‘hostel’ has been given from the varsity campus by breaking the boundary wall and the power connection to said building was being provided from the varsity. The hostel is named as ‘NRI Hostel’ where South African students stay.
“The PSPCL conducted a raid and found university indulging in unauthorised use of electricity. After disconnecting the power supply to the hostel, we have imposed a fine of Rs 5.5 lakh and sent a notice to the varsity registrar,” said Gurjant Singh Chahal, executive engineer, PSPCL.
“The university was illegally supplying electricity to a hostel where more than 20 air conditioners, geysers, and other appliances run. The whole cost is borne by the university. I raid was result of my complaint,” said Prof Pushpinder Gill.
He said varsity was spending about Rs 40 lakh on rent of an illegal hostel belonging to a ‘known’ contractor. “This hostel has been given passage from the campus. Normally the rent for such an accommodation shouldn’t have been more than Rs 15,000 per month, whereas the university was paying him Rs 3,32,750 per month. If one looks at the money paid by the varsity as rent to this contractor over the years, a new hostel could have been constructed,” said Gill, demanding a probe into the matter.
He also alleged large-scale irregularities in the construction works and purchase of items, saying the e-tendering process was not followed, causing losses to the varsity. He had also named several varsity officials in his complaint to the chancellor. He had urged chancellor to order a CBI inquiry into all acts of commission and omission going on at the varsity.
Despite repeated attempts registrar of the university, Devinder Singh, didn’t pick up the phone.