Former PRTC MD to help Pbi varsity tide over financial crisis
Manjit Singh Narang appointed honorary adviser to vice-chancellor Prof BS GhumanUpdated: Jul 03, 2020 23:07 IST
A former bureaucrat has been appointed honorary adviser to vice-chancellor Prof BS Ghuman to help Punjabi University, Patiala, to tide over the financial crisis.
A retired IAS officer, Manjit Singh Narang, who is credited with changing the fortunes of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation three years ago, will not charge any money and will also not receive any perks and official vehicle for his new assignment. Narang retired in 2019.
The university issued orders regarding Narang’s appointment in anticipation that it will be approved by the syndicate. This is for the first time since the university’s inception that an adviser has been appointed to assist V-C in financial matters.
“I will help the university find ways to improve its financial condition. I am already in touch with the varsity authorities and will likely join by next week,” said Narang.
During his stint as managing director of the PRTC from 2016 to 2019, Narang brought the corporation back on track by not only clearing its liabilities worth Rs 200 crore, but also turning it a money-spinning undertaking from an operational loss of Rs 5.6 crore in 2019.
During his tenure in the PRTC, Narang resolved court cases regarding liabilities of pensioners of over Rs 150 crore. Narang first initiated with replacing around 400 old buses with new ones, besides ensuring plying of full fleet of 1,073 buses, besides ensuring that a proper route time table is followed. Besides, an increase in daily receipts and operating on monopoly routes, helped PRTC come out of the red.
One of the officials said the department of higher education has roped in the former bureaucrat to look at the university finances. The fund-starved university is not able to meet its monthly committed expenditure, including salaries and pensions.
“The department has already briefed Narang about his role which is mainly to advise the university on income generation, besides working upon austerity measures to curtail expenses. Narang has been asked to work in coordination with vice-chancellor and other senior functionaries to revive varsity’s finances,” he said.
However, the move has invited criticism from professors and student bodies. “We are not against any individual but condemn the varsity administration for creating such post to cover up its failures in handling the situation,” said Prof Kesar Singh Bhangoo from the department of economics.
As per budgetary proposals for this fiscal, the varsity expects an income of ₹380 crore, while the expenditure is pegged at ₹676 crore, leaving a massive ₹296-crore deficit. The university also has an overdraft of ₹140 crore, which is expected to touch ₹150 crore by the end of the year.