Chandigarh, July 21
The ruling Congress and the previous SAD-BJP government in Punjab have ruined the government higher education system to the detriment of the youth of the state, so that drug mafia and private education mafia could be established in the state. Alleging this, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab has accused the state government of embezzling more than Rs 108 crore sent by the Union government for the development of higher education and sought a time bound inquiry under the supervision of the High Court.
Expressing the devastation of government colleges and higher education system in Punjab during a press conference held here on Wednesday, AAP senior leader and incharge Payal assembly constituency, Manwinder Singh Giaspura disclosed that the Congress party, the Akali Dal along with the BJP had not worked for the development of higher education in the state; but for its destruction. He said that more than Rs 108.60 crore sent by the central government for the development of government colleges and higher education had been embezzled. Regarding the central funds, Giaspura said that in the year 2000, the Union Government had launched the ‘National Higher Education Campaign’ (RUSA) to improve the quality of higher education in the country, under which 60 percent amount was to be paid by the Central Government and 40 percent by the State Government for the renovation of government colleges and raising the standard of higher education.
Giaspura alleged that the Captain and the Badal government had not paid their dues under this campaign for 13 years, as a result of which the doors of government colleges were closed for lakhs of students, teaching and non-teaching staff. He further disclosed that by the year 2019-20, the Union Government had released Rs 124.32 crore to the Punjab government under the National Higher Education Mission (RUSA-I) and the Punjab government was to contribute Rs 86 crore; but the government only contributed Rs 36 crore. He said that out of this amount of Rs 160 crore, the Punjab government had issued a certificate of utilization of only Rs 80 crore, while the remaining amount of over Rs 80 crore was squandered, which is the subject of investigation.
The AAP leader further said that the Union government had given Rs 28.60 crore to the Punjab government for research work, laboratories and libraries in government colleges under RUSA-II, but the Punjab government did not paid its share; but embezzled Rs 28.60 crore and therefore, RUSA-II certificate of utilization of the amount was not issued. Presenting a pathetic picture with the statistics of higher education and number of colleges as compared to the neighboring states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, he said that for the last two and a half decades; no lecturer and non-teaching staff had been recruited in the government colleges of Punjab.
“Due to which government colleges are closing down and on the other hand, the private education mafia is thriving. As a result, the youth of Punjab are frustrated and unemployed, addicted to drugs or in the race to go abroad,” said Giaspura. He said that there should be a periodic scrutiny of funds released by the Punjab government for the renovation of government colleges and development of higher education under the supervision of the High Court. Giaspura claimed that with the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab, higher education would be provided by transforming government colleges. At the same time, the scams in the funds in the past will be investigated and strict legal action will be taken against the ministers and officials found guilty, he added.