IN A huge setback to Panjab University’s hopes for financial assistance from the Centre, the Prime Minister’s Office has curtly informed Chancellor’s nominee V P Kamboj that there is no crisis at the university.
The PMO further snubbed Kamboj, an eminent scientist, by advising him to focus on academic issues and leave these matters to the university administration. The dismissive two-liner from the PMO on Monday came in response to Kamboj’s September 8 representation that the university was on the verge of closure because of non-release of funds by the Human Resource Development Ministry. He had written in his representation that he had checked with the Vice-Chancellor of the Panjab University and found out that the ministry was yet to release Rs 277 crore for the year 2016-2017.
“I had written to the PMO office on their [online] site. I had read reports in the media about the current fiscal crisis going on in the university, following which I wrote a letter apprising them of the university crisis,” Kamboj said.
“I presume that the source [of information] for the PMO is MHRD and UGC. It is very contradictory. The university is claiming that there is a financial crisis while the PMO states there isn’t. I don’t know what to say now,” added Kamboj.
The PMO’s response stated: “The petitioner is requested to concentrate on academic activities and leave such issues to the university administration. Further there is no problem with the university.”
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover did not reply to a question on the PMO’s response to Kamboj, but only said: “If the UGC has accepted the plea of revised expenditure of Rs 277 crore, it serves the interest of PU for 2016-17.”
The Panjab University has submitted a 183-page report to the Punjab and Haryana High Court apprising it of the current fiscal crisis in the university. The High Court has taken suo motu notice of The Indian Express report on Professor Grover’s statement that the university was on the verge of closure.
In its report, the PU has stated that if the UGC does not accept its revised requirement of Rs 277.72 crore, it shall lead to accumulation of deficit of Rs 107.72 crore up to the end of financial year. The university will not be able to pay salaries and pension to its staff after the month of December.