Panjab University’s third car-free day a non-starter - Hindustan Times
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Panjab University’s third car-free day a non-starter

By, Chandigarh
Nov 25, 2023 09:06 AM IST

As per Panjab University security chief Vikram Singh, the authorities were being a bit lenient because of the events and exams planned in the varsity

The third monthly car-free day observed by Panjab University was a non-starter as cars crowded the varsity roads. This was a stark contrast to the previous two car-free days when vehicles weren’t allowed on campus as readily.

Panjab University security staff stopping cars at the varsity’s gate number 3. (Ravi Kumar/HiT)
Panjab University security staff stopping cars at the varsity’s gate number 3. (Ravi Kumar/HiT)

As per varsity security chief Vikram Singh, the authorities were being a bit lenient because of the events and exams planned in the varsity on Friday, adding, “There were around four big events in the varsity including Chandigarh Social Science Congress. Further some exams were also scheduled in the varsity. We had issued special instructions to the guards for Friday not to harass commuters.”

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Singh said as circulars and posters of car-free day are put up, the onus is now on people to themselves not bring cars to the varsity. Even on Friday, there was a 40-45% reduction in the number of cars that came into the varsity as per the authorities. In comparison, September’s car free day saw a 75% reduction, while the figure stood around 60% in October.

PU registrar YP Verma reiterated that the car-free day is a voluntary exercise and those with genuine problems cannot be stopped from bringing their car to the varsity.

A security guard at one of the PU gates said, “In the morning, we were a bit stricter, but so many students were showing us their admit cards and claiming their exam is scheduled to start in a few minutes we didn’t ask them to stop. Teachers continue to be the ones who don’t listen to us and we can only tell them so much.”

Double standards on car-free day show status of varsity’s infra: PUCSC prez

Dubbing the authorities’ move to not impose car-free day strictly on a day when their own events were scheduled “double standards”, PU campus student council president Jatinder Singh said, “It shows that varsity authorities know they don’t have the infrastructure to make PU vehicle-free and special arrangements are made for their guests. Why are such steps taken just to harass students? The authorities must first themselves follow the vehicle free concepts that they are bringing to the university before implementing them for students.”

In September, the varsity had picked the last Friday of each month to observe as “car-free day”, starting with September 22, which is celebrated as World Car Free Day globally each year. During their recent visit, the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) team had also asked PU to reduce vehicular traffic at the varsity.

The dean students welfare (DSW), meanwhile, has initiated action against hostellers who keep vehicles inside the PU campus in violation of the campus rules. Meanwhile, the recently formed PU traffic management committee has also submitted a list of proposals to the vice-chancellor for approval which could see separate parkings for outsiders, opening of gate number 4 towards the University institute of Legal Studies side and PU regulated e-rickshaw services in the varsity.

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