To facilitate the spread of quality education in the rural areas, the Punjab Government today decided to open degree colleges in all the rural development blocks within the next two Five Year Plans.

A decision to this effect was taken by the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in a meeting held here to comprehensively review the functioning of the Higher Education Department. It was also decided to declare expenditure on rural colleges as a fit charge on the Rural Development Fund.

First in the series of such meetings, which the Chief Minister would chair personally to carry out a thorough mid-term review of the working of various departments, was focused not only on the problems being faced by the Colleges and Universities in the state, but also encouraged a brain-storming to suggest innovative solutions.

The Chief Minister directed the constitution of an empowered committee headed by the Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district to carry out a time-bound evaluation of the gaps in the infrastructure of the various Government Colleges.

Mr. Badal also asked the senior officers of the Department to visit at least two colleges every month for an on-the-spot assessment and resolution of the problems of such colleges.

The Chief Minister directed that all the vacant posts of lecturers and Principals in the colleges be filled up before the next academic year.

Similarly, promotions in the department were also directed to be effected within two months. Instructions were also issued to clear the arrears in grant-in-aid payable to the 95 per cent State Aided Private Colleges within the next quarter.