Like many other educational institutions and organisations, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) under leadership of its vice-chancellor BS Dhillon did support 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', a national cleanliness campaign announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, but the cleanliness has taken a 'back seat' as per the current ground reality at the university campus.
The PAU's Centre of Communication and International Linkages (CCIL) had on October 2 released a press release, along with pictures of Dhillon and his team cleaning the campus roads with brooms; and of faculty and students taking an oath of keeping the campus clean, at Pal auditorium.
This correspondent got a phone call on Wednesday morning from various students of the university informing about the litter strewn at the open air theatre and various other nooks and corners of the campus, after which the Hindustan Times team arrived at the spot for a reality check.
Used cups, rotten flowers and garlands were seen scattered all around at the open air theatre since the day youth festival of neighbouring Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University concluded on November 10. Prior to this festival, PAU's youth festival also culminated at the same venue on November 6, but the litter was not cleared post the event.
"Heaps of garbage in various pockets of the campus can be spotted easily. We hardly see any housekeeping staff cleaning the roads, canteens or toilets in the campus, including the hostels. It is deplorable that authorities concerned could not even clear the trash seen at open air theatre since more than a month-and-a-half," said Gurasees Singh, a university student.
"It is funny whenever we think that all students and faculty members took an oath to keep the campus clean, but it seems the authorities themselves are least bothered," students said.
Gurpinder Singh Sangha, a fifth-year student of B.Sc in Agriculture, said, "Canteen zones too are in most deplorable state when it comes to hygiene. I agree that some students are also responsible for littering around especially the paper plates and cups, but what about dogs who linger around. Their presence makes it an unhygienic place. Canteen kitchens, if checked, will paint a picture of neglect."
Karanvir Singh Sandhu, a student representative, who is in his final year of B.Sc in Agriculture, said, "If you go to any of the toilets and washrooms in any of the college buildings, there is no sign of hygiene at all. Visitors are irked and often talk about unhygienic conditions of the toilets here."
Director, students' welfare, Ravinder Kaur Dhaliwal refused comment and suggested to contact estate officer JS Mahal, but he could not be contacted despite several attempts.