Students from Panjab University campus have voted in favour of banning entry of cars and other four wheelers in and around the academic areas of the university.
The results of a special referendum, conducted by the varsity authorities on August 26 along with the election to the campus students' council, have indicated that more students in the university were in favour of banning entry of four wheelers on the scenic campus located in Sector 14 and 25 of Chandigarh.
"As many as 53.2 percent students i.e. 3,315 students, voted in favour of ban on students vehicles while 46.8 percent i.e. 2,916 students, voted in favour of entry to students vehicles in the academic areas of North Campus (Sector 14)," varsity director, Public Relations Vineet Punia told IANS.
"As many as 51.3 percent students i.e. 3,200 students, voted in favour of ban on students vehicles while 48.7 percent i.e. 3,034 students, voted in favour of entry to students vehicles in the academic areas of South Campus in Sector 25," he said.
"The results have been forwarded to the registrar's office by the dean, students welfare. The PU Administration will take further action in this matter," Punia said.
PU, which was ranked at No. 1 among all academic institutions of higher learning in the country by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2013-14, had conducted a two-day survey last year in October on the traffic flow into its Sector 14 campus, which revealed that nearly 23,000 vehicles were entering it daily.
"In two days (Oct 27 and 28, 2014), the campus saw 45,190 vehicles entering through the university's three gates. These included over 19,500 cars and other four wheelers and nearly 24,300 two-wheelers," Punia said.
On any given working day, the PU campus is bursting at seams with vehicles around academic departments, hotels, market, at the popular Students' Centre and near the administrative block. The residential areas, where faculty and staff stay, is relatively less congested.
"The referendum results would now be considered by the PU administration to formulate appropriate policy and decision in this regard," said Punia.
PU Registrar G.S. Chadha said that the university is considering the options of e-rikshaws and bus shuttles inside the academic areas.
In the past, PU officials tried various measures to control the growing number of cars and other vehicles on the campus, including refusing to give hostel accommodation to students who bring their cars, declaring one day of the week as no-vehicle and promoting use of cycles. PU even offered to provide loans to students and staff who opted to buy cycles. However, the campaign was a non-starter.
The problem has compounded in the past one decade more because PU introduced new under-graduate departments and courses. Each of these departments, including engineering, law, hotel management and others, have enrolled hundreds of students.
The campus has nearly 15,000 students, a majority of them being girls.
PU is a walled campus spread over 550 acres in Sectors 14 and 25. The Chandigarh traffic police do not have interference in the campus and PU has its own private security personnel.
Established in 1882 at Lahore (now in Pakistan), PU got its new campus in Chandigarh in 1956. Noted alumna include former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and I.K. Gujral, former president Shankar Dayal Sharma, Nobel laureate Hargobind Khorana, astronaut Kalpana Chawla, first woman IPS officer Kiran Bedi and many more.