Punjab Government to pay Punjabi University’s Rs 150-crore loan, says Channi

Raises monthly grant from Rs9 cr to Rs20 cr to tackle crisis

Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 24

High drama prevailed during Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s maiden visit as CM to Punjabi University, Patiala, when Congress MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur allegedly breached protocol and termed the Vice Chancellor a “right-wing agent”, after being stopped from sharing the stage with the CM. The VC later said the MLA came uninvited to the event.

Earlier, providing relief to the cash-strapped Punjabi University, Channi announced the state government would bear the university’s Rs 150-crore bank overdraft.

CM Charanjit Channi, FM Manpreet Badal and Punjabi University VC Prof Arvind in Patiala. Rajesh Sachar

He also announced an increase in the university’s monthly grant (from Rs 9 crore to 20 crore) to tackle its financial crisis. He was at the university during the launch of two centres — Centre for restoration of ecosystem in Punjab and the Centre for rural entrepreneurship and skill training.

While Ghanaur MLA Jalalpur levelled allegations against the university VC in the presence of the CM, Channi’s visit was marred by protests and slogans by unemployed ETT-TET pass teachers, guest faculty of government colleges and campus students.

University VC Prof Arvind said: “The MLA was not even invited to the event. There was a breach of protocol. I am contemplating filing a defamation suit against him.”

The CM said, “We discussed the financial crisis of the university and have decided to bear the bank overdraft of Rs 150 crore of the university that it had availed during the previous government. The university will not have to pay it. The government will do that instead.”

He said the university’s expenditure was more than its income. “It falls short of over Rs 10 crore after discharge of all expenditure every month. So, we decided to increase its grant from Rs 9 crore to Rs 20 crore every month.”

Unemployed teachers and guest faculty reached the campus carrying posters and black flags and held a demonstration. University students raised slogans demanding rollback of the increase in course fee. Earlier in the day, a police party also detained gangster-turned-activist Lakha Sidhana from the university auditorium.

Ruckus at event

  • The CM’s visit was marred by protests by jobless ETT-TET pass teachers, guest faculty of govt colleges and students
  • MLA ML Jalalpur allegedly breached protocol and created ruckus on the campus

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