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Cash-strapped Punjab government ‘using’ PTU funds to set up skill university

The government told the board of governors that the Chamkaur Sahib college will be centre of excellence and the university will have to bear the cost of building and other infrastructure, and private industrial partners will impart skill training at the college.

Updated: Mar 09, 2019, 21:56 IST

By Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times Chandigarh

The announcement of setting up of the skill university was made by Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the first budget presented in 2017. (HT File )

The cash-strapped Punjab government has smartly projected setting up of a constituent college of Inder Kumar Gujral Punjab Technical University (IKG-PTU) at Chamkaur Sahib in Rupnagar district as a skill university.

The announcement of setting up of the skill university was made by Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government in the first budget presented in 2017. But due to fund crunch, the government floated the idea that the IKG-PTU will set up a skill development college on its campus with a cost of ₹1,000 crore. The board of governors of the university also gave a go-ahead for the college and decided to sanction ₹19 crore to acquire 42 acres at Chamkaur Sahib.

The minutes of the meeting of the board of governors, which sanctioned the project, clearly mentions that it will be a constituent college of the university and would be named Guru Gobind Singh Skill Institute.

The government told the board of governors that the Chamkaur Sahib college will be centre of excellence and the university will have to bear the cost of building and other infrastructure, and private industrial partners will impart skill training at the college.



Even as the government statement mentioned the institute as a constituent college of the IKG-PTU, both the CM and technical education minister Charanjit Singh Channi termed it a ‘skill university’ while laying its foundation stone on march 6.

When questioned, Channi admitted that the Guru Gobind Singh Skill Institute will be set up as a constituent college of the IKG-PTU. Once the entire infrastructure is in place, the government will rechristen it as a skill university, he said. “A skill university cannot be set up without having proper infrastructure. Once the college is ready, the government would bring in legislation to convert into a skill university,” said Channi, who claimed that ₹1,000 crore would be spent on the university.

Questions are being raised if the cash-strapped state government is smartly using the funds of cash rich IKG-PTU to set up another university.

During the previous SAD-BJP regime too, efforts were made to use the ₹1,200 crore corpus fund of the IKG-PTU to set up another technical university at Bathinda. The government even diverted around ₹200 crore, but the Punjab and Haryana high court stayed the move after university employees objected it, terming it an attack on the financial autonomy of the varsity.

“The outflow of money from an autonomous institute is an outrageous and arbitrary move as the finances generated by an institute are meant to be spent on that institute only,” quotes the 2015 HC judgment.

A senior IKG-PTU officer privy with the developments admitted that the government was desperate to fulfill its promise of setting up a skill university, but had no funds for it. The university was asked to spend money to set up a constituent college, he said.

“Even the last two minutes of the meeting of the board of governors, in which decisions over sanctioning of funds was taken, have not been uploaded on the university website,” he said.

IKG-PTU vice-chancellor Ajay Kumar was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

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