Almost six months after the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana imposed a ban on entry of four-wheelers inside campus by ‘students and outsiders’ to control ‘rash driving incidents’, the students Wednesday announced boycott of the ban alleging bias and flaws in implementation. They alleged that vehicles of VIPs and other outsiders are not being stopped but only students and their parents are being harassed.
Demanding lifting of ban, students submitted a written complaint to estate officer with signatures of 200 students and also attached ‘proofs’ along. They submitted photographs of 40 vehicles that were allowed which were without ‘PAU stickers’ that are issued to faculty and employees whose vehicles are allowed.
Students claimed that they conducted a survey on February 4 from 4 pm to 5 pm at gate number 4 and security guards allowed at least 40 vehicles of outsiders which otherwise should have been stopped if ‘ban’ was implemented in the right way.
“For six months, all students cooperated with authorities. They announced that students and outsiders cannot bring in four-wheelers not even hostelers. We cooperated with them and stopped bringing our vehicles. But now ban has remained only for students and their parents. They are not stopping entry of outside vehicles. All government officials, VIPs, visitors and those who use their influence are being allowed in. So why only students should be barred? If they cannot implement ban on outsiders and visitors properly, then why are they harassing students and their parents? Then we too should be exempted,” said a student leading the agitation.
Students have announced protest for February 11 if ban is not lifted. “We will be bringing four-wheelers inside from Monday if action is not taken,” they said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Vishwajit Hans, estate officer, PAU said that students are not completely wrong but efforts are being made to stop all outsider vehicles, not only that of students.
“Students have cooperated with us for six months. They even inform us when outside vehicles are spotted in campus but there are situations when we have to allow in some vehicles by outsiders sometimes. For instance, we have to allow vehicles of government and bank employees whose offices are in campus. Then some relatives and friends of faculty members who reside in campus are allowed. VIPs and bureaucrats coming for official programmes have to be allowed too. Our own faculty and employees are issued stickers but there are some faculty members who do not have vehicles registered in their own names. We do not issue stickers to them so they are also allowed after seeing ID card. We have also started two e-rickshaws and three buses for students,” he claimed.
In July last year, PAU had banned use of four-wheelers by students (including hostelers) and outsider visitors coming to the campus. As per the notice, the decision was taken due to several incidents of ‘rash driving’ reported in campus. The orders however exempted PAU faculty, staff members, officials and other employees, said Hans. A fine of Rs 500 was also imposed on students if they flouted orders. They were allowed to park their four-wheelers at designated parking lots for Rs 1,000 a month.