Chandigarh : 7 Apr :Joint Action Committee, constituted jointly by PUTA and Students Council, today started Chain Fast in front of the Gate of the University Guest House and pitched its tent by the roadside to register protest publicly. Three teachers, namely, Dr Sunita Srivastave, Department of Physics, Dr Keshav Malhotra, Fellow P.U., Dr. Karamjit Singh, U.B.S., and two students, namely, Ms Gagandeep Kaur, Vice President, Students Council, and Ravi Kant Negi, department of Laws, sat on the fast for the fist day. Teachers and students are demanding central university status for Panjab University so that the University
could be pulled out of the current financial crisis. At this occasion PUTA president Prof. A.S. Ahluwalia clarified that central status for Punjab University does not mean to hand over P.U. to union government. In fact, U.T. Chandigarh contributes to the Centre thousands of crores of rupees annually by way of central taxes and it is absolutely legitimate to ask for cultivate back a small fraction of the total taxes on higher education in U.T. Chandigarh. P.G.I. has more than double the budget of P.U. and it is flushed with funds for research and teaching for the only reason that it is totally funded by the union government. By being funded by the union government PGI has not debarred Punjab from the modern facilities for the patients. It is narrow mindedness of some of the individual politicians who still think in the frame of early 20th century where as the need of the hour is to look forward to 22nd century, said Prof. Manjit Singh, Secretary, PUTA. Other wise there is no reason to link between the strengthening of higher education by receiving liberal finances from the union government and the loss of political claim over U.T. Chandigarh. Panjab University, the Mother University of all the universities in the region, is poised to take leap forward and take challenges in the arena of higher education at the global level but the severe constraints of funds are seriously holding it back from taking off. For instance, Punjab Government, instead of contributing 40 per cent share to P.U. budget has arbitrarily frozen its share to Rs. 16.0 Crore and that too has not been released. In the just closing financial year Punjab released only Rs.14.7 crore. How can such a big university be run with pittance, asked Prof. Singh.
Parminder Jaswal, President Students Council explained that how central status is going to benefit the students not only with new scholarships but also assess to new modern equipments and technology of higher education. There would be no need to increase tuition fee every now and then just to mobilize resources. At present students are the first to become victim of the university deficit budget as there is increase in tuition fee to the tune of 10 per cent every year. Once this university becomes central its new standards of higher education would push it to the global level and our students would have demand in the world market of professionals and intellectuals.
Those who have volunteered for tomorrow to sit on the fast are: Prof. Rajan Gaur, Vice President PUTA, Dr Ashok Kumar, Department of Hindi, Dr Jatinder Grover, DCS, and among the students are: Parambir Singh (Sunny), Department of Laws, and Ravi Shankar, of department of Geology.