Khalsa college issue comes up in assembly


Staff member
Chandigarh March 18:

The issue of conversion of the 120-year-old Khalsa College, Amritsar, into a private university reverbated during Zero Hour in Punjab Assembly.

Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira advocated a status quo since the Khalsa College was a heritage institution and had produced finest of human beings in different spheres of life during its existence. He alleged that the move to convert the College into a private varsity was aimed at helping the family of an MLA since the College owned hundreds of acre of land.

Khaira maintained that the College, once it became a private varsity, would not remain within reach of the poor due to high fees. Mr O P Soni, the Congress MLA from Amritsar, also seconded Mr Khaira's contentions. After the issue led to a heated discussion, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal stood up to say that one should welcome conversion of the College into a private varsity since it would raise the standard of higher education, pointing out the previous Congress government had also set up a private varsity like Lovely University in Jalandhar.

Later, Mr Khaira and Mr Soni told reporters that the government was taking shelter under a resolution passed by the governing body of the College in 1921 during British rule. Vehemently opposing the private varsity, they pointed out that the father of MLA Bikram Singh Majithia, Sardar Satyajeet Singh Majithia, was chairman of the College managing committee, adding that Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was married into Majithia's family.

On the other hand, Mr Bikram Singh Majithia told reporters that the opposition to the conversion of the College into a private varsity was only due to the fact that it was managed by his family. The standard of education would rise if the Khalsa College was converted into a varsity, he contended.