Abid Hussain

5 years on, govt fails to start construction of MANUU campus in Budgam

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Photo/Abid Hussain

Budgam: This is Kashmir -- the construction work on satellite campus of Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), which was inaugurated in May 2013 in district Budgam's Patwaw village, has not started yet.

After the inaugural ceremony, the student community, particularly the Urdu-lovers, were excited as they felt that having a central university in the area could certainly be a game-changer for them.

Asif Ali, a student, who pursued graduation in Urdu and wanted to continue higher studies in the same language, said, "After the foundation of MANUU campus was laid, I made up my mind that I will get admission here and pursue higher education in Urdu. However, due to delay in the construction my dream didn't come true."

Likewise, the dreams of other students vanished into thin air as the 104 kanals of land which was provided by Patwaw villagers was not put to use it was meant for. All that stands where a sprawling campus should have come up by now is a two-room guard structure, a tin-shed and ruins of foundation stone.

Pertinently, the foundation for MANUU campus was laid by former Union Minister for Human Resources Development, M M Pallam Raju along with the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in presence of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Aga Syed Ruhullah and Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen.

In Budgam, the inaugural ceremony was seen as a big event with people welcoming the move.

Now they say the inauguration of varsity was a "mockery" -- "if this university would have been inaugurated in any other district, it would have been functional today!”

"The district administration, state and central governments have failed to provide relief to the people of Budgam. We have always faced discrimination in every area; education and health sectors are prime examples," Manzoor Ahmad, a local resident said.

Presently, the MANUU Arts and Science College for Women is operating from a private accommodation in Humhama which is offering Post Graduation in Urdu, English, Islamic Studies and Economics.

Meanwhile, Regional Director MANNU, and In-charge Satellite Campus Kashmir, Dr Mohammad Aijaz Ashraf told ‘Kashmir Images’ that in 2017, tenders of Rs 3.65 crore were floated for construction of boundary wall and guard-room but due to "unnecessary obstruction by few locals", they had to cancel the tenders.

He said that on the back side of proposed varsity site, locals possess land for which they are demanding road through the campus.

"The main entrance of MANUU campus will be 30-feet in width; how can we provide 12-feet road to them?" he said. "When government allotted land to us, at that time the issue of road was nowhere."

"Now again we have invited tenders for the construction of main gate and boundary wall, but if work isn't started till March then funds will automatically lapse," Dr Ashraf said.

When ‘Kashmir Images’ contacted those who are demanding construction of road, they said, "We aren't asking for road through the campus, but we are seeking it outside the boundary wall."

Despite repeated calls, Deputy Commissioner Budgam, Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar did not respond.

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