Months after flagging financial crunch at PU Patiala, V-C resigns

The state-run university has been embroiled in a deep financial mess with deficit of “at least Rs 300 crore”, and is struggling to pay even basic salaries and pensions of the staff and administration.

Amid a deep financial mess and an ongoing protest by employees demanding timely release of salaries, the vice-chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr BS Ghuman, resigned Wednesday. State Higher Education Secretary Rahul Bhandari confirmed receiving Ghuman’s resignation.

Dr Ghuman, however, did not respond to calls despite repeated attempts.

The state-run university has been embroiled in a deep financial mess with deficit of “at least Rs 300 crore”, and is struggling to pay even basic salaries and pensions of the staff and administration.

In August, a three-member committee was constituted on the orders of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to find out the solution to varsity’s deep financial troubles. Prior to that, a meeting was chaired by state Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on July 22 at Chandigarh to discuss the poor financial condition of the university. Several issues that may have landed the 58-year-old institution in this financial mess were discussed.

According to the minutes of the meeting (a copy of which is with The Indian Express), which was also attended by Dr Ghuman, Principal Finance Secretary KAP Sinha and Bhandari, the V-C in his remarks had said, “The university is passing through a difficult phase on account of lack of funds. To carry on with day to day working of the university has become extremely difficult… University is not in a position even to meet the expenses on account of salaries and pensionary liabilities of its staff.”

He had further said that the “present financial state of the university is primarily due to decisions” taken by his predecessor, especially on the issue of mass recruitment of staff “whose gestation period is over and now the university has to honour those liabilities”. The situation, he had said, was further worsened due to non-collection of fees for past several months. “The low admissions in regional centres of the engineering colleges being run by the universities in last three-four years have also contributed to low collection of fees,”he had said.

The minutes further say that on being questioned by the finance minister regarding the decisions taken that led to this situation, Dr Ghuman had said, “…large-scale recruitment was carried out, due to which strength of teaching staff has increased to 935, non-teaching staff to 3,344 and 321 people have been employed on daily wages.”

It was further noted that “strength of especially non-teaching and daily wagers is very high and the university must carry out a man power audit and rationalisation of posts to reduce financial burden due to salaries”.

Source: Read Full Article