became a booming business across Punjab over a decade with the
agrarian state's green fields giving way to sprawling campuses of
scores of educational institutions, but things have taken a turn
for the worst.
If the Punjab Unaided Technical Institutions Association (PUTIA)
is to be believed, nearly 400 such institutions with an investment
of over Rs.6,000 crore "are on the verge of closure". The
association attributes this situation to the apathy of the state
government and other agencies.
"The educational institutions of Punjab are facing a lot of
problems because of non-supportive attitude of regulatory bodies
like the Punjab government, the All India Council For Technical
Education and the Punjab Technical University," PUTIA president
J.S. Dhaliwal said here.
He said around 400 unaided technical institutions of Punjab,
including engineering, polytechnic, management, architecture and
other professional and vocational colleges, were on the verge of
The affected institutes have called for a conference Nov 18 at
Mohali, adjoining Chandigarh, to devise strategies to avoid
The main grouse of the educational institutions is that the Punjab
government and other agencies are forcing them to pay commercial
rates for everything - from change of land use charges, external
development charges, electricity and transport charges and stamp
"We are providing education to several thousand youths in Punjab
right at their doorstep. Instead of supporting us in this, the
Punjab government is charging all commercial rates. Educational
institutes should be exempted from all taxes," Dhaliwal said.
Officials say the government is considering the demands.
"Private technical institutions have raised the matter with the
government. They have some issues on taxes and commercial charges
being levied on them. The government is considering their demands
and will take a decision," a senior Punjab technical education
department official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
PUTIA is represented by several leading private education groups
in Punjab in management, engineering and other professional
courses. These include the Rayat Bahra Education group, Indo
Global Colleges, Chandigarh group of colleges, Doaba group, Aryans
group, Sukhmani group and others.
Together, over 250,000 students study in these private
"While institutes in Punjab are facing uncertainty and are on the
verge of closure, institutions in other neighbouring states are
benefiting as governments in those states are helping them set up
educational infrastructure," Anshu Kataria, chairman of the Aryans
group of colleges, told IANS.
"Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad offer job scope in the IT sector.
So students want to go there. There is no major industrial and IT
investment in Punjab. So students are reluctant to come here to
study. Punjab is losing its share to other states," Kataria said.
Private educationists are questioning the stepmotherly treatment
towards Punjab's own institutions.
"While the Punjab government is hell bent on taxing us and
applying all commercial charges, it went out of the way with its
land largesse to a business school to set up its 70-acre campus in
Mohali (near Chandigarh) on a token annual lease of Re.1," a
leading educationist told IANS requesting anonymity.
Dhaliwal and Kataria also pointed out that while private
institutions were being taxed heavily, the state government had
regulated the fee in these institutions, making these projects
"In the last 10-15 years, the price of everything has risen except
our fee. The government should consider fee revision as the cost
of education has gone up drastically," Dhaliwal said.
"Nearly 95 percent of the technical institutes in Punjab are in
the private sector. Despite that, we have no say and are not even
consulted while formulating education and technical education
policy," he said.
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