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I think quota issue is settled: PM

May 25, 2006 18:40 IST

Making it clear that there was no going back on the reservation issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday appealed to the students to call off their anti-reservation agitation saying the government will take care of the interests of all sections of the society.

"I am pained to see the agonising experience the youth of the country are undergoing. They should call off their strike and I assure that the government will find a viable and credible way to protect the interests of all sections of the society," Dr Singh said adding, "I think the matter is already settled."

Asked if he will meet the representative of the striking students, the prime minister said, "I am not averse to meeting any group of our citizens, if they want to talk to me."

He said it was time for the whole process to gather momentum.

"And we have lot of time to discuss any practical problem that may arise," he said.

He also assured that the government will set-up committees of vice-chancellors of Central universities and directors of IIMs and IITs on how to increase the facility in all these institutions in such a manner that the interest of all groups of students is protected.    

Observing that Parliament has passed the Constitution Amendement Bill and the United Progressive Alliance-Left Coordination Committee has chalked out a roadmap on the quota issue, Dr Singh told a press conference after the round table in Srinagar that it was time for the process to gather momentum.

"We have lot of time to discuss any problem," he said making it clear that the government will work on all possible options to safeguard the interest of all groups.

Asked as to why he was silent on the reservation issue, the prime minister said it was not correct to say he was "silent or not visible".

"I have earlier appealed twice. I once again appeal to call-off their agitation and we will find a viable and credible way to protect the interest of all," he said.

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