The ‘fund starved’ Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) is spending Rs 52 lakh approximately on conveyance bills in a year. Concerned over the mounting fuel bills, vice-chancellor of the varsity took serious note of the issue and now directions have been given to deans, directors and other employees to make judicious use of varsity vehicles.
The varsity owns 36 of its own cars including 13 petrol-run Ambassador cars. In addition to this, the varsity also hired taxi service worth Rs 14.22 lakh in 2013-14.
As per the data from PAU taken through RTI application by Ludhiana Newsline, taxis for various visits and tours worth Rs 14.22 lakh were hired in 2013-14 whereas the fuel bills of 23 cars other than 13 old ambassadors was of Rs 25.26 lakh.
The 13 ambassador cars used petrol worth Rs 14.64 lakh. Talking to Newsline, an official associated with varsity’s workshop said, “On an average, the varsity has 220 working days. The conveyance expenses are mounting as old vehicles use more fuel. Although some of antique ambassadors were auctioned off, some are still being used.”
The list of PAU’s old ambassadors include a 1994 model, two 1995 model, one 1996 model, 1998 model and two 1999 model. Other six are of post 2000 model.
The personal staff car facility with a chauffeur has been given to vice-chancellor, registrar, comptroller, director research, additional DRs etc.
Almost all senior officials -dean, registrar, comptroller, dean PG studies, dean college of agriculture, dean college of engineering and Director research- at present use Ambassador cars.
“On an average, 23 other cars are being run on Rs 11,500 per day whereas 13 ambassadors alone use Rs 6,700 worth petrol per day adding to the expenses. Cars are also used for personal use such as pick ups and drops without entering in log register. Some officers deliberately do not give up old ambassadors because of the respect ambassadors are given on roads. Toll plazas are also skipped,” said an official.
PAU workshop was also declared a ‘vanishing unit’ few months back. Jaskaran Mahal, estate officer said, “We are in the process of replacing old petrol ambassadors with high efficiency diesel cars. The V-C now has a Innova car and others will also be replaced. However, there is no cap on fuel expenditure of varsity officials.”
While Dr B S Dhillon, the V-C did not respond to calls and messages despite various attempts, a PAU dean, who didn’t wish to be named told Newsline, “Recently, we have been told to share vehicles if destination for officials is common. It is not necessary that each dean and director take their official vehicles as it bloats varsity’s fuel bills. V-C has not issued a diktat but has just directed officials to not waste fuel and keep a tab on fuel budget.”