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Bait amid crisis: Punjab objects to Haryana seeking PU tag for colleges

Haryana offers Rs 25 cr annually if varsity grants affiliation to its colleges and provides a say in its senate; can’t turn back clock, says Punjab.

punjab Updated: Feb 08, 2018 10:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Punjab,Haryana seeking PU tag,Panjab University
For 2017-18, the PU had approved of around Rs 515 crore, with the deficit (expenditure minus revenues) expected at around Rs 245 crore. (HT File )

The Punjab government has strongly opposed Haryana’s demand of affiliation of its colleges in the tricity with Panjab University (PU) and the latter’s say in the functioning of the apex governing body of the varsity, the senate, in lieu of helping the institution tide over the financial crisis.

For 2017-18, the PU had approved of around Rs 515 crore, with the deficit (expenditure minus revenues) expected at around Rs 245 crore.

“Right from beginning, it (PU) has emerged as an educational and cultural symbol of Punjab’s legacy and inheritance to an extent that it has almost become synonymous with the state of Punjab…The state of Haryana cannot arrogate itself the privileges of altering history as and when it wishes,” Punjab has said referring to Haryana’s proposal and citing that it was Haryana, which withdrew and disaffiliated its colleges in 1976.

What is the issue
  • The budget deficit of PU has increased by Rs 100 crore over the years and Centre is asking PU to reduce its expenditure and increase income. Intermittently, PU is resorting to fee hike that invites criticism from students.
  • Haryana was part of governing body of the PU till 1976, when it discontinued its share of grant. Now, the has expressed its willingness to share PU’s financial burden but with condition that colleges in Panchkula, Ambala and Yamuna Nagar be allowed affiliation with the varsity. It also wants Haryana be given the same status as Punjab in the apex governing body of PU—senate.
  • PU is making efforts to get more funds and is looking forward to having Haryana to come to its aid, since Punjab is non-committal on increasing the grant as per the demand of PU.

The Punjab government’s response was submitted in the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday during resumed hearing of a suo motu petition by the high court in 2016 on reports of poor financial health of the varsity.

Haryana has expressed its willingness to share the burden, but with a rider.

It is ready to fund university up to Rs 25 crore annually but the state wants it be given representation in senate on the lines of Punjab. Punjab chief minister, director public instructions, minister of education are ex-officio members of senate. Punjab also nominates two MLAs to the Senate.

“The tricity was always in existence even when the state of Haryana decided to de-affiliate its colleges and severed all linkages with the university. There has been no change in the character of the tricity since that time.. ..The argument of the tricity is implausible and is an afterthought,” the government said.

‘Punjab grant up 35%’

The government has said that the financial position of the university and the proposed changes in the status of PU are two different and two independent divergent issues and should not be mixed up. “The transitory financial problem and its resolution by the statutory stakeholders do not permit the government of Haryana to turn back the clock,” the government has said.

Both states have had disputes since separation in 1966 on various issues such as Chandigarh and Sutlej Yamuna Link canal.

It argued that Punjab has increased grant from Rs 20 crore to Rs 27 crore during the current fiscal — a 35% increase. There are 175 colleges in Punjab affiliated with PU.

It was on December 4, that the Central government had told the HC that before allowing Haryana colleges’ affiliation to PU, Punjab needs to be consulted since it is a stakeholder.

Both the states have had disputes since separation on various issues including Chandigarh, SYL among other issues since separation in 1966. Haryana was part of governing body of the PU till 1976.

Haryana’s additional advocate general, Sandeep Moudgil expressed displeasure on Punjab’s stand.

“Our proposal was for a good cause. We wanted university to move forward and Punjab should not have raised this issue, which would adversely affect not only the institution, but students also,” he said.

As Punjab did not categorically state that how much it was ready to fund, the HC gave two weeks time to Punjab to clear its stand. Meanwhile, the HC too observed that there should not be any problem from any quarter if Haryana was willing to help the varsity.

First Published: Feb 08, 2018 10:26 IST