Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has vociferously rejected a proposal seeking affiliation of Haryana colleges with Panjab University (PU). He asserted that the Chandigarh-based university belongs to Punjab, and will always remain so. This move comes amid a tussle over state jurisdictions, water sharing issues, and educational affiliations.
CM Mann also strongly objected to the offer from Haryana of providing funds for restoring the state’s share in the PU. He suggested that his counterpart, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, should consider establishing a new university in his own state instead.The comments came after a meeting held with Khattar, also attended by Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and PU Vice Chancellor Renu Vig. “Panjab University, Chandigarh has always been connected with Punjab’s legacy, heritage, emotions, culture and literature,” Mann stated in a media address following the meeting.
Accusing Haryana of trying to gain an “indirect” entry into the university, Mann was resolute in his stance. “They want indirect entry into the university which is connected with Punjab’s emotions, literature and culture. We told them today that there is a clear no from our side. We cannot give affiliation to any Haryana college,” he said.Regarding the contentious Satluj Yamuna Link issue, the Punjab Chief Minister reiterated that Punjab’s stance is firm that it does not have surplus water to share.
This conflict over university affiliation was sparked off during the first meeting held on June 1, when Punjab Governor Purohit suggested the possibility of affiliating colleges in neighbouring Haryana with the Chandigarh-based university. This elicited a strong reaction from Mann.
Mann reminded that the PU had been relocated from Lahore, then capital of Punjab, to Hoshiarpur post partition and later to Chandigarh, which currently serves as the shared capital of Punjab and Haryana. He stated that 175 colleges of Punjab and 30 colleges of Union Territory Chandigarh are currently affiliated with the PU. He noted that Haryana and Himachal Pradesh previously held a 20% share each in the PU. However, former Haryana Chief Minister Bansi Lal independently decided to withdraw the state’s share from the PU and established Kurukshetra University in Haryana.