Poor students on receiving end in upcoming PU budget

LAHORE : With no solid plan for resource generation or to even curtail the ever increasing establishment-related expenditures, Punjab University (PU) administration is all set to shift its financial burden on poor students in its upcoming budget.

Besides revising certain fee dues for new and already enrolled students, PU’s Finance & Planning Committee has proposed to revise utility and bus service charges, etc. in the university’s budget for fiscal year 2022-23.

As per the proposed charges, the committee recommended charging Rs3,500 per semester instead of existing Rs1,990 for bus service, Rs1,000 instead of Rs400 per semester for library service (for new students), Rs1,200 per semester instead of existing Rs910 for electricity, Rs500 per semester as admission fee instead of Rs300, field work charges from Rs180 to Rs500 as well as medical charges from Rs175 per annum to Rs150 per semester (for new students).

These and other recommendations were approved in the Finance & Planning Committee meeting held on June 21.

These budget proposals would be placed for final approval before the PU Syndicate in its 1746th meeting scheduled for June 28.

As per the proceedings of the Finance & Planning Committee meeting, a copy available with The News, some members of committee had expressed concerns over the varsity’s financial position and termed the move of creating new posts as “unwise”.

Nonetheless, the committee recommended creating 136 new teaching and 28 new non-teaching posts with collective net financial impact of over Rs209 million.

According to the sources, PU Academic Staff Association (PUASA) Secretary Dr Amjad Abbas Khan Magsi said the restructuring of the varsity faculties was an unwise move taken in extraordinary haste and logical thinking. He said it was claimed by the university that no financial impact would be faced but now the university had to face huge financial impact by creating new posts.

He said the university administration did not bother to analyse the academic and financial drawbacks which has now put the university in an unavoidable situation.

Dr Magsi added the varsity spent millions of rupees for the payment of electricity bills and fuel charges for the generators but never thought about solar projects which could save huge money and the amount could be used for research purposes.

When contacted, PU spokesperson Dr Khurram Shahzad said the varsity was not shifting the entire burden on the students as subsidy was also being provided to the students on transport and other services.

He said utility charges had not been revised since the last three years despite increased cost over the years. About the creation of new posts, he said the varsity would need more teachers for new departments where required in due time