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Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal will hold a meeting with Panjab University Vice Chancellor on April 25 to discuss the financial aid to the varsity, even as the students continued their protest against fee hike. "I have arranged a meeting between FM Manpreet Singh Badal and Panjab University (PU) VC Arun Kumar Grover which will take place on April 25 to discuss the issue (pertaining to financial support)," Cabinet minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Charanjit Singh Channi, said. Channi also met the PU authorities and protesting students at the university campus here. Coming out in support of the agitating students, Channi, an MLA from Chamkaur Sahib, sought rollback of the fee hike by the university in various courses. "I am with the students on this (fee hike) issue. Increase in tuition fee is too much and with such a hike, students will suffer. A genuine fee structure should be put in place for all students," he said, adding that the FIRs lodged against students should also be withdrawn. Notably, PU Vice Chancellor Arun Kumar Grover had written to the Congress-led Punjab government over the university's fiscal situation. The Finance Minister had assured to help the university but added that any decision with regard to providing financial support to the institute would be taken after the state government came out with a whitepaper on fiscal position of Punjab. Students have been protesting against the "significant" hike in tuition fee announced by PU senate last month for the academic year 2017-18. In some courses, the fee hike was steep. In case of B Pharma course, the fee was raised from Rs 5,080 to Rs 50,000 and in case of MA Journalism course, the fee was hiked from Rs 5,290 to Rs 30,000.
For PU's dental course, the fees was increased from Rs 86,400 to Rs 1.50 lakh. With students demanding rollback of the decision, PU had justified the average 12.5 per cent hike while considering the financial condition of the university as the varsity anticipated a deficit of Rs 244 crore for the financial year 2017-18. Meanwhile, the students continued their protest at the varsity campus today. Various associations, including Students for Society, PSU (Lalkar), PUSU (Evening department) had also given a call for university bandh today. Panjab University Student Council member Nishant Kaushal said that it will start a chain hunger strike from tomorrow and the protest will continue till May 7 when the PU senate meets to discuss the fee hike issue. The university has called a special meeting of the senate on May 7 to discuss the issue of additional grant. The fee hike issue may also be discussed in the meeting. "We will take the issue to the senate... The outcome of UGC meeting... Will be put before the senate," PU Registrar Guljit Singh Chadha said today. The varsity has also received a communication from the Ministry of Human Resources Development wherein it has directed the UGC to urgently conduct a meeting with Vice Chancellor of Panjab University, so that "incongruity with respect to expenditure and revenue plan submitted by Panjab University is resolved and a way forward regarding funding issue is arrived at." The Ministry has sought the report from UGC after conducting the meeting latest by April 27, an official said. The Core Committee of senators will meet the Chief Minister of Punjab and Union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar on April 27.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)