Punjab passes resolution against making Panjab University a central varsity

Updated on Jun 30, 2022 07:00 PM IST

Moving resolution in assembly, state higher education minister says Punjab being robbed of its rights by Centre, won’t let PU to be made central university

The resolution passed by the Punjab assembly on Thursday said any decision to change the character of Panjab University won’t be acceptable to the people of the state and, therefore, any such proposal should be dropped with immediate effect. (HT file photo)
The resolution passed by the Punjab assembly on Thursday said any decision to change the character of Panjab University won’t be acceptable to the people of the state and, therefore, any such proposal should be dropped with immediate effect. (HT file photo)
By, Chandigarh

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha on Thursday passed a resolution against the attempt to alter the status of Panjab University (PU) into a Central University, while strongly urging the Centre not to consider any change in the nature and character of the institution.

The resolution said any decision to change PU’s character would not be acceptable to the people of Punjab and, therefore, any proposal in this regard should be dropped with immediate effect.

Also read: Punjab assembly passes resolution against Centre’s Agnipath scheme

All MLAs, except those from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), supported the resolution. BJP legislators Jangi Lal Mahajan and Ashwani Sharma opposed the resolution, asking the state government whether there was actually any proposal to change the status of the institution into a central university.

The resolution was moved by higher education minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, who claimed that Punjab is being robbed of its rights by the Centre. “PU belongs to Punjab. It is our heritage, and it is a matter of identify for us. We will not let the central government centralise it at any cost,” he said. The resolution stated that this House is concerned about the attempt being made by vested interests to push the matter for change of PU’s status into a central university on one pretext or the other.

‘PU occupies emotional place for Punjabis’

The resolution further said that PU occupies an emotional place in the minds of Punjabis on account of historical, regional and cultural reasons, and it has emerged as an educational and cultural symbol of the Punjab’s legacy and inheritance to the extent that it has almost become synonymous with the state. Any proposal for the same, if under consideration, should be dropped with immediate effect, it added. The state assembly also recommended to the Punjab government to take up the issue with the central government.

Participating in the discussion on the official resolution, Mahajan categorically denied any move by the Centre to make PU a central university. He also said that the state government had failed to contribute its share of 40% grant to the university. Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira accused the Centre of trying to take over PU from Punjab. Another Congress MLA, Pargat Singh, also supported the resolution, saying that not just PU, the Centre intended to snatch Chandigarh from Punjab too.

The resolution, which was passed by a voice vote, said that PU has been managing and conducting its financial affairs unilaterally. It said that Punjab has increased the grant-in-aid from 20 crore to 45.3 crore during the financial year 2020-21, which amounts to an increase of more than 75%, besides nearly 100 crore collected annually by the university from affiliated colleges in the state.

“This substantial increase may not be commensurate with the needs of Panjab University, but this is due to the reason that there is no bilateral consultative process in place,” it said. More than 175 colleges in Fazilka, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Moga, Muktsar and SBS Nagar districts are affiliated with PU.

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