THE PANJAB University Senate on Sunday approved the recommendations made by the university’s Board of Finance for Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for management of hostel funds. A crisis management committee would be constituted within a week to handle the situation that has come up due to funds not being released by the Centre.
The funds from the Centre have been stalled following a complaint made by members of the ABVP regarding misappropriation of hostel funds. In view of the ongoing inquiry in the case, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had asked the university authorities to do financial and administrative restructuring of its hostels.
On the status of the inquiry committee set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to look into the hostel funds, PU Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover said, “The Ministry of Human Resource Development has not yet taken a final call on the issue, and we need to re-look into the financial requirements of the university.”
As per the recommended SOP, no expenditure will be made by any hostel warden unless the budget for the same has been sanctioned by the competent authority, i.e. Board of Finance (BoF)/Syndicate/Senate. All the wardens will also be required to submit the budget of hostels through Dean Students’ Welfare (DSW) and V-C for onward submission to the statutory bodies.
In addition to this, for procurement of goods and services and for repair and maintenance work, the hostel wardens can now sanction an amount of Rs 15,000 only. If the involved cost for procurement of goods and services/repair & maintenance work exceeds Rs 15,000, permission will need to be sought through a Purchase/Technical Committee comprising DSW, DSW (Women), four wardens nominated by the Vice-Chancellor, one nominee of the Accounts and Finance Department and the executive engineer or his nominee. Besides, the Senate also recommended and approved representation of students in the Purchase/Technical Committee. For expenditure higher than Rs 1 lakh, the Vice-Chancellor will be the signing authority.
“Restructuring of the administrative powers of the hostel wardens is the last compliance that the UGC has requested from the university. Since this has now been approved by the Syndicate and the Senate, we will forward this to the UGC. After this, negotiations will be held on the basis of the decision of the fact-finding committee,” Grover added.
With an approved budget of Rs 506.55 crore for 2014-15, PU is now finding it difficult to provide salaries to its employees. For the last few months, the university has also failed to provide DA to its employees. An amount of Rs 25 crore has already been diverted from the university’s research grants to meet the financial requirements.