Central University keeps swinging-here and there!

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The Central University of Kashmir authorities had shifted its offices to Ganderbal including Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor’s Secretariat. Few months back, the Additional Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Shahnawaz Bukhari handed over the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) building to University authorities in presence of Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor Prof Mehraj-ud-din, former MLA Ganderbal, Ishfaq Jabbar, Registrar of the Varsity, Prof Mohammad Afzal Zargar and other senior civil and varsity officials. The newly established District Education Institute of Training (DIET) building at Nunner Ganderbal will also be handed over to varasity soon, as official hand-out had said, as per print media reports. The Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal was also asked to provide accommodation at old district hospital building, Industrial Training Institute (ITI) building, old physical Education college building for the purpose.

While talking with media, the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of varasity said “The University is also trying to hire buildings in district Ganderbal, for which applications have already been sought, through advertisements”. While the other officials especially Hon’ble MLA welcomed the shifting of campus. The Registrar of varasity said, that the University is awaiting the visit of the Project Monitoring Unit (PMU) constituted by the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) to assess the construction work of the University at designated Campus. It was also decided that the Srinagar Road Transport Corporation would provide bus and transport service to the students and staff.

In one of my previous write-ups, I had mentioned that the CUK authorities must have a proper campus. From its inception in 2009, CUK is functioning from three transit campuses which led to a huge chunk of money for constructional purposes getting diverted to other Universities and the campus has become another extra liability on state’s exchequer. The permanent campus at Tulmulla Ganderbal is under construction from a couple of years where locals are demanding Government Jobs hindering the whole process.

On the other hand, the visiting consultancy of Hon’ble Ministry of Human Resource Development had directed the state authorities to find alternate land for the construction stating that the land at Tulmulla was of “low land bearing capacity” which is against the norms for vertical or horizontal expansion.

As this news got viral in print, electronic as well on social media, that the construction of CUK Campus has been stopped and the state authorities had been directed to provide alternate land, there was a mixed response from all stakeholders. The peoples of Ganderbal have shown their anger and strong resentment for such a move. After this outcry by the locals of Ganderbal, the State Government had advised the Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor of Varsity to shift all offices and teaching fraternity to Ganderbal.

Shifting the campus from one rented accommodation to another has caused great dilemma in the minds of the people and especially the students. The protest of the locals against shifting of campus is alright but these like-minded people must think seriously that constructing a University campus or any other building on a marshy land is against the norms.

A common man doesn’t understand why Government is cooperating with locals of Tulmulla for setting-up the campus at a permanent place. The civil society of Ganderbal must cooperate with government authorities for providing an alternate site for construction. If not, then they must not pull out their socks, as their will be no alternate for the State Government to shift the campus to some other place.

The academic credibility must be only maintained by imparting quality education, not by having a campus on thousand acres of land. In gulf countries the University campuses are functioning on few acres of land. Still now the University authorities have not taken this matter on board of hostel bound students who have hired hostel accommodation at Srinagar. If a common man who is earning 400 rupees per day and his son or daughter is enrolled at CUK, how it will be possible for him to pay for both hostel as well for transport from Srinagar to Ganderbal, as University will nowbe functional in rented accommodations at various places at Ganderbal.

The authorities must stop this unhealthy practice which has thrown extra burden on students who belong from South and North Kashmir. The university authorities must realize the ground realities. They must hire a hostel building on priority in Ganderbal for hostel bound students. There is a dire need for CUK authorities to stop such kind of monopoly of sorts for hiring buildings instead of establishing a permanent campus at proper place in the jurisdiction of Ganderbal, but not at Tulmulla where establishing a campus will be dangerous as the land is of “low land bearing capacity”…!!!

(Shah Khalid is a freelance Journalist)

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