Ludhiana: Union Minister Manish Tewari on Wednesday accused Punjab government of meting out "step motherly treatment" to Punjab Agricultural University, saying salaries of its employees had been delayed due to this.
In a statement here, Tewari said he regretted that the staff, which include scientists, had to struggle to get their monthly salaries as a result of "criminal and callous indifference of the Akali-BJP government towards them."
"It is an irony that when the Punjab government is claiming to improve the agriculture economy, it is treating PAU so step-motherly," the minister said.
The UPA leader, who is Lok Sabha MP from Ludhiana, said given the importance of the institution towards agricultural development of the state, the Punjab government must ensure an assured fund for the PAU so that its staff does not suffer.
He said it has become a routine for several years now that the salaries of PAU staff get delayed in the last quarter of every financial year.
Tewari said the government failed to devise any mechanism to ensure that the practice does not get repeated.
The minister added that it reflected very badly on the fiscal management of the Akali-BJP government in the state that the university staff were resorting to sit on dharna for salary that they rightfully deserved.
Scientists and professors who should otherwise be working in fields, laboratories and classrooms, which they are doing in any case against all odds and despite their salaries getting delayed, are forced to sit on dharna for what should come to them as their rightful due, he said.
He maintained that while all the educational and research institutions are of paramount importance, the PAU holds special place since it has not only scripted the Green Revolution in the country but also sustained it.
While assuring that he will try whatever he can at the central government level, Tewari said he had a few years ago managed to get a one-time special grant of Rs 100 crore for the PAU and will again try to get some more grants.
He, however, added that it was the state government which has to ensure that the PAU does not suffer for want of grants as the institution comes under them.