The demand for granting of central university status to Patna University (PU) gained momentum on Tuesday with retired IAS officer and former Governor of Sikkim Balmiki Prasad Singh lending his support.
Singh, an alumnus of the university and the chief guest at its 96th foundation day function at the Wheeler Senate House, said: “Patna University should be granted the status of a central university for its academic growth and overall development.”
PU pro-vice-chancellor Sudipto Adhikari and senior economics teacher N.K. Chaudhary too supported the call.
Chaudhary also passed two resolutions — one for granting central university status to PU and the other for installing the picture of Martin Luther King Junior, the American civil rights movement activist, commemorating his visit to the university in the 1960s.
Sources said the demand for granting central university status to PU is not new but it has always been ignored because of the absence of a strong political lobby to push the case.
“The demand for the status was first made during the tenure of Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao’s government (1991-96) at the Centre and thereafter, several leaders and forums had raised the issue but no concrete plan was chalked out,” said a senior PU teacher.
He added: “During UPA-I and NDA governments at Delhi, there were many central ministers representing Bihar but none of them jointly fought for the issue. Many of the universities that came up after PU were granted the central university status within no time but PU’s fight continues.”
Unlike previous years, the foundation day function on Tuesday was not as grand as other years because the university administration decided to do away with the felicitation of undergraduate toppers citing technical reasons. Only retired teachers and professors were felicitated.
Stressing the need for academic improvement, chief guest Singh said: “Apart from scientific, modern teaching stress should be given in value education too.”