Asserting that Panjab University, Chandigarh is part of the emotional, cultural, literature and rich legacy of the state, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday categorically said that they need no share of Haryana in the University, which is an apex educational institute of the region. “Neither any college of Haryana will be given affiliation from the university nor will any attempt of Haryana for back door entry in the senate of university be allowed” said the Chief Minister while interacting with the media persons here at Punjab Bhawan.
The Chief Minister bemoaned that regular attempts are being made to change the status of the university. However, he said that the Punjab government will not allow any such move in the larger interests of the students.
Bhagwant Mann said that 175 colleges of the state are affiliated with this premier university due to which generations of Punjab are emotionally attached with it. The Chief Minister said that the University caters only to the state of Punjab and its capital Chandigarh. Citing the history of the University, its constitution, its ethnic, socio-cultural and historical roots as well as its faculty and students who hail primarily from the state of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann said that it is important that the present legal and administrative status of the Panjab University should be preserved.
He reminded that at the time of the reorganization of the State of Punjab in 1966, Panjab University was declared as an 'Inter State Body Corporate' under section 72(1) of the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966 enacted by the Parliament. The Chief Minister said that ever since its inception, the Panjab University has been continuously and uninterruptedly functioning in the state of Punjab.
Bhagwant Mann recalled that after partition it was shifted from Lahore, the then capital of Punjab, to Hoshiarpur and then to Chandigarh the present capital of Punjab. He asserted that the entire territorial jurisdiction of Panjab University lies primarily in the state of Punjab and Union territory of Chandigarh.
The Chief Minister said that as per Sub-section (4) of Section 72 of the Punjab Reorganization Act, 1966, the maintenance deficit grants to the University were to be shared and paid by the states concerned, i.e., Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UT Administration of Chandigarh in the ratio of 20:20:20:40, respectively.
However, he said that in 1970 the then Chief Minister of Haryana Bansi Lal voluntarily pulled out his state’s share from the university adding that in 1973 even the state called back its members of senate from university. Bhagwant Mann said that since then the state of Punjab and UT Administration of Chandigarh have borne the financial responsibility of paying maintenance deficit grants to the University in the ratio of 40:60 respectively.
The Chief Minister said that despite increased financial burden caused by withdrawal of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and the creation of new universities in the state, Punjab has continued to support Panjab University to ensure that the historical and emotional attachment of the people of Punjab with the University is maintained and preserved.
He said that recently also the state government has given Rs 49 crore for construction of hostels to the university, even though no demand was made for it. Bhagwant Mann said that the state government has left no stone unturned for the holistic development of the university in all possible manners.
The Chief Minister further said that every step will be taken to retain the Interstate Status of the university and no one will be allowed to make any change in it. He unequivocally said that the interests of the state are not saleable so that anyone will offer money and purchase it.
Bhagwant Mann said that the Haryana government’s proposal to bear the share of grants in university is totally unacceptable and unwarranted too. The Chief Minister, while quoting a letter written by the Additional Chief Secretary of Haryana to the Vice Chancellors of all the universities of the state, said that the Haryana government had through communiqué expressed its inability to give funds to universities.
He said that in this letter the Universities were asked to manage their own resources whereas on the other hand Haryana is too eager to put a share in Panjab University which indicates some nefarious designs of the state.
Bhagwant Mann said that how can any state which is not able to manage its own universities fund a university of stature of Panjab University until and unless some higher agency was not funding it in a clandestine manner. The Chief Minister said that after assuming the charge of office he had written two letters to Union Ministers Amit Shah and Dharminder Pradhan asking them that the university is heritage of the state and any sort of change in it will not be tolerated.
Reiterating the firm commitment of the state government to avert any change in the nature and character of the Panjab University, he said that the Punjab government is committed to safeguard the rights of the state and its people. Bhagwant Mann said that Panjab University is a symbol of Punjab’s legacy and is synonymous with the name of the State.
The Chief Minister also said that a resolution was also passed in Punjab assembly on June 30, 2022 to retain the original status of PU to avert any sort of intrusion in the senate of university. He said that the state government is not against the people of Haryana and it is also a well known fact that 35% students in university are from Haryana.
Bhagwant Mann categorically said that Haryana is free to make its university anywhere but they will not be allowed any share in the Panjab University. Taking the Akali and Congress leaders to cudgels, the Chief Minister slammed them for backstabbing the state and its people.
He said that the then Chief Minister of state late Parkash Singh Badal wrote a letter to erstwhile Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 26, 2008 seeking central status for Panjab University. Bhagwant Mann said that going beyond that, the Akali Dal government had issued an NOC to the Union government for converting this premier institute into a central university.
The Chief Minister said that on what grounds the Akali leaders are thumping their chest when everyone knows that they have worked overtime against the interests of the state and its people. He said that granting NOC for the central university was a treacherous move aimed at weakening the claim of state over the university.
Bhagwant Mann said that Akali Dal has no moral right to say even a single word on the issue. The Chief Minister said that these leaders and parties had always preferred their own interests by jeopardizing that of the state.
Likewise, he said that Congress was also dyed in the same wool as a female Congress MLA of Haryana had in August 2022 moved a resolution in state Vidhan Sabha to affiliate colleges of state with Panjab University. Bhagwant Mann said that both these parties were hypocrites who had always ignored the interests of the state for their selfish interests.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Cabinet Ministers Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer and Harjot Bains, Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua, Additional Chief Secretary to CM A Venuprasad, Special Principal Secretary to CM Ravi Bhagat, Additional Special Principal Secretary to CM Himanshu Jain and others.