Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Thursday marked the “opportunity” of colleges in neighboring Haryana to join Chandigarh-based Panjab University, prompting a strong backlash from Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann.
In a statement issued by the Haryana government, Banwarilal Purohit, who is also the administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, said that this (accession) is possible with the mutual agreement of the chief ministers of both states. Bhagwant Mann responded that his government is determined to prevent any change in the nature and character of Panjab University (PU), saying that the university is a heritage of the state.
He also said his government is determined to protect the rights of the state and its people, according to a statement from the Punjab government. The Punjab CM and the Governor have also clashed in the past.
According to the Haryana government statement, Purohit previously chaired a meeting with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Mann here, in a cordial atmosphere, on various issues related to the PU. “Positive steps have been taken towards recovery of Haryana’s shareholding in Panjab University, Chandigarh and affiliation of Haryana State Colleges with the varsity,” the statement said. Notably, Haryana aims to restore the state’s share in PU, Chandigarh.
Speaking at the meeting, Purohit said governments should work to make education accessible to rural areas as well, and urged both ministers to continue the issues related to PU by mutual agreement. “The issue of affiliation of Haryana colleges with Panjab University is not a major issue; it is possible to do this. This cooperation of Haryana and Punjab will definitely be a good start,” he said, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, according to the statement, Punjab CM Mann “has sought some time to finalize these topics, after which a meeting is scheduled for June 5”. Mann later said that the PU, a premier educational institution, holds an emotional place in the hearts of the people of Punjab for historical, cultural and provincial reasons.
He said that the PU is synonymous with the name of the state, claiming that the university focuses only on the state of Punjab and the capital Chandigarh. The Punjab CM and the governor were at loggerheads last year when the latter raised issues including the “illegal” appointment of the vice-chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University and the promotion of an IPS officer who was dismissed for alleged misconduct .
Last year, the Haryana assembly had unanimously passed a resolution recommending the government to strive to restore the state’s share of Panjab University. Haryana Education Minister Kanwar Pal had then said that after passing the Kurukshetra University Act, the Center issued a notice on 1 November 1973 abolishing the state share in the PU. At that time, the number of colleges affiliated to the PU in Haryana was 63 in 18 districts.
At the meeting, Khattar said that under the Punjab Reorganization Act of 1966, Haryana’s share was given to Panjab University and Haryana’s colleges and regional centers were affiliated to Panjab University. However, it was abolished by issuing a notice in 1973. In the present era, the colleges of the states are also affiliated with international universities. The aim of the National Education Policy is that all educational institutions work together for the progress of the country and that the mutual relations of all states are further strengthened. Therefore, the affiliation of colleges of Haryana should be done with Panjab University, Chandigarh, Haryana chief minister said.
Khattar said that Haryana’s colleges should also have an affiliation with PU. The Haryana government along with the center will advance Panjab University so that the university becomes prosperous and its needs are met, he claimed.
Citing the history of the university, its constitution, its ethnic, socio-cultural and historical roots, as well as its faculty and students who are mainly from the state of Punjab, Mann said it is important that the current legal and administrative status of the Panjab University must be preserved.
He recalled that at the time of the reorganization of the Punjab State in 1966, the PU was declared an ‘Inter State Body Corporate’ under Section 72(1) of the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966 enacted by the Parliament. The chief minister said that the PU has been functioning continuously and uninterruptedly in the state of Punjab since its inception.
Mann recalled that it was moved from Lahore, the then capital of Punjab, to Hoshiarpur and then to Chandigarh, the current capital of Punjab. He said that currently 175 colleges of Punjab located in Fazilka, Ferozepur, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Moga, Sri Muktsar Sahib and SBS Nagar districts are affiliated to the PU.
Haryana Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal, Punjab Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua, PU Vice Chancellor Prof Renu Vig, along with senior officers from Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh UT also attended Thursday’s meeting.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and was published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)