Chandigarh: 26 May:To mark the 50th day of the chain fast held by the teachers and students of PU demanding central university status for Panjab University the teacher activists,
with the help of Prof. Mahendra Kumar of the department of Indian Theatre, depicted the whole issue through a collage that was made public today. A large number of teachers and students gathered at the Dharna site to have a look at the collage and later also joined the protest against the unduly delay in announcing P.U. a central university. There is so much enthusiasm among the community of PU that even the parents of some of the students have volunteered to sit on the chain fast to express their solidarity with the agitating teachers and students.
It was the turn of the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS) today to sit on the fast. R.S. Grewal, Director, UILS along with his faculty colleagues, Navneet Arora, Jasmeet Kaur, Jai Mala and a student Amarbir Singh Salar sat on the fast today. P.P Arya, retired professor from UBS, who happened to be PUTA president three times, was so enthused to notice popular participation in the agitation that he too sat on the fast for the day.
Addressing the media Prof. Grewal said that asking central university status for P.U. is an understatement. Punjab University, by its legal structure and academic contribution to the entire world, should have been recognized as a national heritage long back and elevated to the global standards. It is an irony that there is all round celebration of the announcement of new central universities, IIMs and IITs for different states, including Punjab, whereas the already established prestigious institutes of the repute of P.U. are being neglected. It raises doubts about the sincerity of the governments.
“If the University that has given two Prime Ministers and one Chief Justice to the nation, besides noble laureate and eminent scientists, is kept starved of funds, it is not difficult to imagine the future of higher education in India” commented Prof Arya while rubbishing the tall claims of the government to raise enrolment ratio to 22 per cent in higher education. With the present approach to higher education, in fact, a large number of intelligent students are being deprived of the opportunity to higher education as the tuition fees are jacked up to a level that is beyond the reach of the ordinary students.
In the meanwhile a delegation of four PUTA representatives called on Sardar S.S. Dhindsa, Secretary General SAD, and sought response of the Punjab Government. S. Dhindsa told the delegation that in the light of the last meeting with him he has discussed with his senior party colleagues who are now thinking positively about the central university status to P.U. However concrete development could be reported only after he talks to the Chief Minister in this regard shortly.