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NRI tired of greasing palms in Punjab

Tired of corruption, Lajpat Munger has decided to donate his IT college to Panjab University.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2006 13:02 IST

While India is inviting overseas Indians to come and invest in their country of origin, a billionaire NRI is tired of greasing palms and is donating away a technical institute he founded in Punjab.

Lajpat Rai Munger, 89, has decided to donate to Panjab University the engineering and IT college he founded in his native village Bajwara, near here, five years ago.

Although the institute cost him Rs 210 million ($4.7 million), he would have none of it any more. The NRI from California says he was disillusioned with the Indian system.

"Corruption and nepotism at every step have irritated me the most," Munger told the agency.

Munger had set up the Swami Sarvanand Giri Institute of Information and Technology with an academic tie-up with the California State University to give back something to his village, his district (Hoshiarpur) and Punjab.

"I gave up after finding that even after investing so much money in my country of origin, I had to grease palms at every governmental level - be it for getting approval for various courses or any day-to-day administrative matters."

This week, the affluent NRI, whose family owns one of California's largest blue-berry and pistachio farms with an annual turnover of $30 million, was busy discussing modalities with top Panjab University officials.

University officials, including vice chancellor KN Pathak, were keen to work out things for a formal takeover of the institute.

Panjab University, headquartered at Chandigarh, has Hoshiarpur in its academic jurisdiction.

Munger has also offered to donate 22 acres of land - valued at millions - near Hoshiarpur to the university to set up a law and nursing college. He has also offered to donate Rs 5 million for the new project.

The university, however, has expressed its inability to run so many courses.

Munger migrated to the US in 1966 after having served Punjab Police as a constable. After becoming a qualified doctor there, he had set up a hospital in a village near Hoshiarpur.

First Published: Jan 08, 2006 13:02 IST