THE MINISTRY of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has directed the University Grants Commission to release a grant of Rs 21.73 crore to the Panjab University at the earliest. This comes after the PU Registrar and Finance Development Officer (FDO) on Tuesday submitted a clarification on the five objections raised by UGC.
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Confirming the development, Registrar Col G S Chadha said, “I received an email today from the ministry’s office in which they have issued directions to release a grant of Rs 21.73 crore. We had gone and submitted our reply to MHRD and UGC on their queries on how we are going to increase our finances. They found some inconsistency which we explained to them today.”
On March 10, local MP Kirron Kher had said that MHRD had agreed to release a grant of Rs 140 crore to PU to tide over the financial crisis.
The UGC in its letter dated March 9 had raised objections stating that although the university would bring down the teaching posts from 1,510 to 1,378 and non-teaching posts from 2,609 to 1,590 during the next five years, the projected expenditure would increase till 2022. Moreover, the reduction in salary has not been shown in proportion to the reduction in staff. Further, the UGC also asked for a draft plan on increase of internal revenue from various sources, including fee, levy of development charges, consultancy and affiliation, from the university so that the deficit is capped to realistic figures.
PU has been struggling to give salaries to its staff members for the month of March. Salary for the month of February for the teaching staff was given by PU from the money generated as the exam fee. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had earlier asked the UGC to release Rs 30.5 crore to the PU. However, the UGC has moved the Supreme Court on the issue and filed a Special Leave Petition saying that the sanctioned grant of Rs 176 crore had been given and it was unjustified to ask for an additional grant as they had specific funds to spend on various projects.
PU Vice-Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover has also convened a special Senate meeting on March 16 to discuss the financial crisis. He said that the varsity was yet to receive any communication from UGC about the release of the grant.