CHANDIGARH -April 18, 2011: Fee waivers to reserved category and below poverty line students, diverse academic and recreational on-campus facilities, guest house charges, measures undertaken to ensure administrative transparency were some of the points under discussion during an interaction of the press with Professor R.C. Sobti, Vice Chancellor Panjab University and other top functionaries namely Prof A.K Bhandari, Registrar and Controller of Examinations, Prof Naval Kishore, Dean Students Welfare, Prof Amrik S. Ahluwalia, Dean, Faculty of Sciences and Vikram Nayyar, Finance Development Officer.Prof. Sobti informed that more than 100 crore were spent on the students’ welfare during the last four years – four new hostels were constructed, two boys are under construction. The University has created 10 per cent freeship seats which will be doubled in the current year. Sports, need-cum-merit, handicapped scholarships have also been doubled this year. The University has also decided to increase the hostel refund to financially underprivileged students from Rs 3500 to 6000. Similarly financial assistance for food has been increased from Rs.3000 to Rs.5000/-.
Grants received for infrastructural development have been earmarked for setting up a PURSE Library in every science department. Internet facility is available to all campus students. The University has already spent Rs.1 crore on RIFT technology in A.C. Joshi Library and other facilities for visually challenged students. There is a provision to set up another library in the South Campus of the University. A shuttle bus service has been started for the facility of the students in both the main and the south Campus of the University. One A.C. Bus has also been purchased. Panjab University already has astroturfed Tennis courts and an all weather swimming pool. An astroturf Hockey Ground is under construction. Panjab University is also going to construct multiple parking near Guru Tegh Bahadur Bhawan in Sector 14 for the facility of the students, teachers and staff.
Professor R.C. Sobti disclosed that Panjab University will have its own Science City in its South Campus on the initiative of Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of Science & Technology and Parliamentary Affairs. For this purpose, Shri Bansal will provide financial help of Rs.6 crore, while the University’s contribution would be Rs 4 crore. Shri Bansal will aid in getting the remaining Rs 10 crore from the Centre. The University Science City will be the 15th in the country.
More than Rs 10 crore has been spent on the development of Dr. Harbans Singh Judge Dental Institute and Hospital in South Campus. All the roads of the University have been re- carpeted and the bathrooms renovated in campus hostels. The Main Auditorium and the English and Evening Studies auditoriums have also been refurbished. A new Examination Hall is under construction.
Prof. R.C. Sobti also highlighted that even while offering so many facilties, Panjab University has not raised its tuition fee in the last four years, though it has been decided to effect a 10% increase in fee structure as per government regulations. But even keeping that in mind, the University has one of the lowest fee structures in the region if comparisons are to be drawn with other state universities. For instance, a state university is charging Rs Rs.1,38,420 in Chemical Engineering, whereas in Panjab University is charging Rs.68,000/-; in B.Sc. (Hons. School), Panjab University fees is Rs.7800/-. while that of the state university is Rs.23,220/- and in English the latter charges Rs.23220 while Panjab University takes Rs.5500/- only. Even the self financing courses are cheaper in PU as compared to other universities.
Regarding the cost of admission forms, the Vice Chancellor said, “We have priced our CET forms at Rs 1800 as it includes charges for counselling, entrance test, printing, setting and evaluation. Other universities have lower pricing because they charge separately for all these services. As regards our open courses, the forms for these are available for free online.” Prof Kishore, Dean Students Welfare elaborated further by saying that for deserving/below poverty line students, the cost of the form is adjusted in the 1st Semester fees after their admission. The University also goes out of its way to help needy students in continuing with their education. He cited the case of a student of MCA who had given in writing that her father was a labourer and could not pay her tuition fee as his monthly income is Rs.4000/-. Her fee was waived off as was that of more than 50-60 other students.
In keeping with the spirit of transparency, Professor R.C. Sobti informed that all the departments of the University will now show answer-sheets to the students, other than the Law Department which has professional regulations preventing the same. This practice is already under place in the science departments. This development will cut down on revaluation cases as well. From the next session onwards, semester results would be declared by 31st July and 31st December and displayed on their respective notice boards. The departments will also have complete autonomy in setting their date sheets as well.
Professor R.C. Sobti also informed that two U.M.C. Committees have been formed, one will be headed by Justice (Retd.) Verma and the second will be headed by Justice (Retd.) M.S. Gujral. Both the legal luminaries have accepted this assignment as part of their civic duty and will not be taking any stipend for the same.
Prof. R.C. Sobti also informed that the new academic session will see the semester system introduced at the Postgraduate level in all the affiliated Colleges.