Punjab government rejects Thapar bid again to quash quota

Patiala, Punjab: Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal refused to entertain yet another bid by Thapar University (TU) to abolish the 50% quota for students of the state.

During a high-level meeting with the members of the board of governors (BoG) of Thapar Educational Trust at the chief minister’s office in Chandigarh, a TU representative tried to convince Badal about abolishing the quota for students of the state. The chief minister categorically dismissed the demand stating that the quota for state students was their right.

“Not at all,” Badal told the BoG. “There is no need to negotiate the already settled issue as TU is bound to abide by the stipulated rules on provision of 50% quota to the students of the state. Such an attempt would not be tolerated at all.”

Sources said TU, desperate to quash the quota, requested Badal to consider its proposal on the grounds that because of the reservation it was not able to admit good students as those from Punjab had lower merit than those from other states.

“The compulsions of admitting low merit students from Punjab has also hit the institute’s ranking,” said a TU official.

On this, the chief minister advised them to start class 12 as well as special coaching classes for students of the state.

“This way you can act as a nursery to attract the best talent by improving the standard of education,” Badal told TU’s representatives. “Removing quota is not the solution as the institute came up because of the sheer magnanimity on the part of the state government during its nourishing period.”

The chief minister said the current value of the 250 acres, which the state government had provided to TU to build its campus way back in 1956, was Rs 1,500 crore.

“The state even provided uninterrupted grant-in-aid till 2001,” Badal said. “Considering such a tremendous contribution, it would be unethical if the institute shuns its duty of providing quota for students of the state in which it was running.”

Sources said the chief minister’s unequivocal stand shocked TU, which had hoped to persuade him with its presentation on the comparison of merits of Punjab students and those from other states.

“The chief minister categorically conveyed to TU that the government would assist them if they wanted to raise the academic status of students from Punjab,” principal secretary (technical education) SS Channi said. “But he turned down every request made by the BoG for abolishing the quota.”

This paper was the first to report TU’s move to do away with the quota for state students. After a hue and cry from all quarters, TU was forced to withdraw its proposal when the Punjab government intervened.

TU was represented in the meeting by BoG chairman SM Trehan, vice- chairman JS Neerav and corporate affairs head Anil Bhargava while from the government’s side technical education minister Anil Joshi, chief secretary Rakesh Singh, principal secretary to the chief minister SK Sandhu, Channi, special principal secretary to the chief minister KJS Cheema and secretary (expenditure) Dalip Kumar were present.

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