PM Modi receiving his second dose of Covaxin at AIIMS, Delhi (File photo)
MUMBAI: The University Grants Commission (UGC) issued a letter to all government-funded universities and colleges on Sunday, asking them to display promotional banners and hoardings on the free vaccination drive launched for those aged above 18. The letter shared approved designs of the hoardings, carrying a message thanking PM Narendra Modi, in Hindi and English.
The poster, with the PM's photo, reads: "Vaccines for all, free for all, world's largest free vaccination campaign, thank you, PM Modi." It further mentions that free vaccines were so far available only for people above 45 years of age, but from June 21, will be available for free at government centres, for everyone in the 18+ category.
A government official said similar requests have been made to other public offices too, including railway stations, banks, hospitals, and research institutions. A railway official confirmed receiving a message.
Delhi University (DU) put up the hoarding at its North and South campuses on Monday morning with both vice-chancellor PC Joshi and registrar Vikas Gupta getting their pictures clicked in front of it put up at Gate number 1 of North campus. "The vaccination drive by the government of India begins today and hence the hoarding has been put up," Joshi told TOI. Gupta denied that the poster was put up after a directive from the UGC. "We have put up the hoarding on our own. We didn't get any letters," he said.
Jamia Millia Islamia registrar Nazim Jafri said, "We have received the letter and sent the hoarding for printing. We will put it up on our campus by Tuesday."
Several centrally funded technical institutions too received similar messages on Sunday. An official from one of the institutes said they were asked to put up hoardings/banners provided by the I&B ministry in their institutions from Monday.
While the UGC letter is for both central universities and colleges, several university-affiliated colleges in Maharashtra and Delhi said they didn't get the letter. "Vaccination drive has started in our college. But we don't know anything about any hoarding. If they send a letter, we will," said Ramjas College principal Manoj Khanna. Registrar of Mumbai University, Baliram Gaikwad, too, said no such letter had been received on Monday.