Last Updated: June 05, 2023, 14:50 IST
In what is brewing into a major confrontation between the two states after the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann rejected on Monday a proposal of affiliation of Haryana colleges with Panjab University, second time in less than a week.
After holding the second round of discussions with his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar and Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit over the issue, Mann said Panjab University has always been connected with Punjab’s legacy and heritage.
The third round is slated for July 3, however, Mann said, “We will listen to them whenever they want to talk. We will not agree to affiliating colleges in Haryana with PU. They had also come up with (the request of affiliation) Kurukshetra University…why are they refusing to accept the value of their own university?”
The CM said, “PU is the legacy of Punjab woven with public emotions, culture and literature.” The original university campus in Lahore was shifted to Hoshiarpur after Partition. It was originally divided in share of 20:20:20:40 for the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and the Centre.
In 1970, former Chief Minister of Haryana Bansi Lal announced that the state was withdrawing from affiliating its colleges with PU. Haryana also chose not to be part of the PU senate in 1973. “Now Haryana has no right over PU, I was told in the meeting today that Haryana was willing to pay its share to the university and that its colleges be affiliated with PU”.
Showing a three-day old letter by the Haryana Additional Chief Secretary, Mann said, “Vice-Chancellors in the state have been asked to manage their own funds. When they don’t have money for their own educational institutions, what will they give us?”
Showing intentions of the previous state governments, CM Mann showed a No Objection Certificate issued by former CM Parkash Singh Badal to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that said “we have no objection if PU is made a central university”.
CM Mann mentioned two letters written by his government to the Centre to stop all efforts at converting PU into a central university.
“Already 35% students on the campus are from Haryana and they are most welcome to join us, always, however, we will not allow colleges in Haryana to be affiliated with PU even if they have more meetings. Actually, Haryana politicians are looking for an entry into the university senate for political reasons. Nothing more,” he said.
Some of PU’s top alumni include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Chief Minister stated that 175 colleges of Punjab and 30 colleges of Union Territory Chandigarh are affiliated with the PU. The University is ranked 44th in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2023 rankings.
Known as the University of Punjab earlier, the Panjab University was established in 1882 in Lahore, now in Pakistan. After the Partition, the university was first set up with an administrative office at Solan, and teaching departments at Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Delhi.
It was relocated to Chandigarh in 1956. The current campus is spread over an area of 550 acres in Sector 14 and 25 of the city, which serves as the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. The university initially had regional centres at Rohtak, Jalandhar and Shimla. After the reorganisation in 1966, when Punjab was trifurcated into Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, the former two were also given rights over the university.