Chandigarh,16,Apr:Today on the 10th day of the chain fast by the students, teachers and technical staff of the University an open rally was organized to register public protest against the delay in declaring P.U a Central University. Despite the busy period for the teachers and students due to the ongoing examination on the campus hundreds of teachers, including from the local colleges, and students thronged at the site of rally at the call given by Joint Action Committee.
Addressing the Rally Prof. Manjit Singh, Coordinator JAC, said that the demand for central university status for Panjab University is to save it from the current financial crunch. On the one hand Panjab Govt. is not ready to contribute its 40 per cent share to the University budget on the other, if Centre is ready to take over the entire financial liability, Punjab accuses Centre of conspiring against Punjab by snatching P.U. out of its hands. Prof Singh, dubbing this attitude of Punjab Government anti-academic and myopic, rubbished the propaganda of Punjab Government that P.U. is being handed over to the Union Government by declaring it central university. When Punjab itself has welcomed two central universities, one IIT for Punjab and once Science Institute at Mohali, all funded by the Union Government, why is it bent upon to commit historic mistake by not allowing P.U. to be fully funded by the Centre.
Prof. A.S. Ahluwalia, Chairman JAC, recounting the various phases through which the agitation for central university status has passed, said emphatically that if peaceful protests go unheard, we would be compelled to go for more aggressive forms of agitation. Lashing out at the indifferent attitude of Punjab Government, Prof Ahluwalia warned that the simple academic demand should not be made a battlefield of politics.
Prof. Rakesh Mehta, President DCC, and Prof. Anil Sarwal, Vice President, PCCTU, while extending their support to the agitation, highlighted the significance of making P.U. a central university. The strengthening of P.U. is important not simply for the entire North West region but for the entire nation as P.U. is a national heritage, and not simply a university. They wondered why Punjab Government is not ready to grab the opportunity offered by the MHRD to up-grade P.U. to the status of a central university. The largest beneficiary of the academic excellence of P.U. would be Punjab, as of now, if teaching and research improves by liberal funding from the Centre.
Sh G.K. Chathrath, and Principal Tarsem Bahia, both Fellow P.U., while supporting central university status to P.U., ridiculed the obduracy of Punjab Government. Sh Chathrath said that by making P.U a central university a new chapter would be written in the history of higher education in India. Similarly Principal P.S. Sangha, highlighted the urgency to declare P.U. a central university but he accused equally both the state and Central Government of playing politics rather than proving their sincerity to the cause. Mr Parminder Jaswal, Co-Chairman JAC, and Mr Preet, President P.U. Lab Technical Staff Association also addressed the rally in support of the demand for central status.
An emergency meeting of JAC has been called tomorrow to chalk out the future course of action. Those who sat on the Chain Fast today were: Kamaljit Singh and M.C. Sidhu, both department of Botany, D.B. Rishi, department of Math, Ashwani Kaul, Biophysics and G.R. Chaudhary from Chemistry were the teachers and Udhay Bhan, and Bhupinder Singh were the students of the department of Botany and Math, respectively.