Council, private colleges lock horns over agri course - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Council, private colleges lock horns over agri course

Council, private colleges lock horns over agri course

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 10

The recent warning issued by the Punjab State Council for Agricultural Education to students seeking admission in BSc (Agriculture) in 107 institutes of the state has turned into a major war between the council and the managements of private engineering colleges affected by the notice during the ongoing admission season.

The Unaided Colleges Association of Punjab, including Punjab Unaided Colleges Association (PUCA) and Punjab Unaided Technical Institutions Association (PUTIA), has sought Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s intervention in this. The fiasco is being seen as an aftermath of an old war between council’s member secretary Kahan Singh Pannu and the college associations that had got him removed as Technical Education Secretary and officiating Vice-Chancellor of IKGPTU in June 2017.

An IAS officer, Pannu had then got started auditing of the colleges and given them 90 days time to overcome the shortcomings to save themselves from being de-affiliated. An agriculture graduate from PAU, Ludhiana, Pannu denies any vendetta on his part as he says that the council came up before he joined the department. Most of the 107 institutes named in the public notice issued four days ago are affiliated colleges of IKGPTU. They have been asked to submit a status report and fulfil norms or face refusal for affiliation with the council that is mandatory as per the Punjab State Council for Agricultural Education Act, 2018

As president, PUCA, Dr Anshu Kataria, and vice-president, PUTIA, Manjeet Singh issued a press release. Pannu too issued his statement. Pannu wrote, “The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) recommends optimum staff and infrastructural requirements for institutions imparting agricultural education. The colleges and universities need to have a faculty of 32 professors and assistant professors and a similar number of field and laboratory staff for 11 departments/ streams falling under the course. They need to have green house/ polyhouse/ nursery facility spread in half an acre and a farm area, including stores to the stretch of 20 hectares, is required. They are to adhere to the course curriculum as recommended by the Fifth Deans’ Committee and approved by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU)”.

On the other hand, the college associations said, “Questioning the veracity of degrees of 107 already running institutions has created the confusion in the minds of over 15,000 existing students and over 3,000-4,000 students who have recently taken admissions in these colleges.”

Kataria asked, “When one affiliating university, IKGPTU, Jalandhar, MRSPTU, Bathinda or Punjabi University, Patiala, has given the approval to run B.Sc Agriculture course in 5-acres, how a new body can increase the land requirement from 5 acres to 50 acres?”

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