Chandigarh,10 Apr:The demand for central university status is gathering momentum with the tremendous increase in the number of visitors at the site of Chain Fast. Today on the fourth day of the chain fast the batch of five teachers and students included, Prof. Cecilia Antony, Fellow Panjab University from department of French Studies along with Dr. Arvind Kumar and Naresh Kumar both from UIET were the teachers whereas Ranjit Kaur and Mrinalini from the department of English were from amongst the students. The teachers and students gathered at the site and expressed their resentment against the politicization of the legitimate demand for the central status for P.U.
In response to the news appeared in a section of the press that Punjab Government has received no such letter for comment from Ministry of Human Resource Development where P.U. has been offered central university status, PUTA President Prof. A.S. Ahluwalia expressed his shock and offered to supply one if Punjab Government needs so. The letter was written on 18 July 2007 where it is mentioned that, “….the fact that a number of administrative and financial hassles of Panjab University are reportedly linked to its ambiguous status between the state and the central university, it may be desirable that the Panjab Universityis accorded Central University status with 100% Plan and Non-plan grant being borne by the Central Government.” How can liberal grant from the Union Government to fund starved P.U. harm the interests of Punjab, asked Prof. Ahluwalia. On the one hand present Punjab government claim that Chandigarh belongs to Punjab, in the same breath it argues that liberal funding to P.U. from the Union Government will dilute its claim over Chandigarh. If funding from the union government for central universities amounts to loss of political control, why similar decision of two central universities for Punjab is being hailed by the same Punjab governmnent, asked Prof. Manjit Singh. Punjab Government over the last two decades has never fully contributed its share of 40 per cent in the budget of P.U., and even arbitrarily fixed Rs. 16.0 crore are also not paid in the last financial year. Punjab Government has to decide between taking pride in the well being of P.U. or let it down in favour of its own narrow political ends, said Prof. Cecilia Antony, Fellow, P.U.
In the meanwhile, JAC has called meeting on the 11 April 10, 2008 in the office of PUTA to decide the further course of action. The teachers and students from the Mukatsar Centre have also started taking signatures on the Memorandum to be submitted to the Chief Minister of Punjab. The campus students has already collected 1000 signatures on the demand for central status to P.U. and the campaign is on to meet the target of 5000 signatures within the next few days. Once completed, the representation to P.M. will be made at Delhi.