Central Himachal University, a state prerogative – Sudhir Sharma

central-university-himachal-pradeshDharamsala: Funding for setting up a central university in Himachal Pradesh stalled because of the government’s inability to finalize a site for the institution, urban development Minister Sudhir Sharma today insisted that it was the states prerogative to select a site and dismissed reports that one of the sites recommended had been rejected.

 “The earlier recommended site in Dharamsala (Indru Nag) has not been rejected by site selection committee , as being claimed by the state BJP leaders, Sharma told Hill Post. “The Indru Nag site is under observation review,” he said.

Besides, a fresh proposal has been sent to ministry of Human Resource Development wherein 4 to 5 sites, which include Narwana, Jadrangal and others in and around Dharamsala have been recommended, said Sharma.

The minister who represents Dharamsala assembly went onto add, “I am not against Dehra , a few colleges of the Central University can be established there too.”

“When a project is being awarded to a state by the center, it is the prerogative of the concerned state to select the site and area for its setup, and that is exactly what the Himachal government is doing,” he said.

More than 160 hectare of land was available in Dharamsala as against only 81 hectares in Dehra, claimed the minister adding that land in some localities of Dharamsala did require some clearances before it is transferred to CU and as soon that is done, the foundation stone would laid.

At a cabinet meeting, last week the state government categorically decided to set up the new Central University at Dharamsala.

The cabinet had also decided to send a fresh proposal to the Union Ministry for HRD for the CUHP campus at Dharamsala. The decision was reportedly taken after the HRD Ministry has granted approval to set up the main university campus at Dehra, a proposal that was sent by the previous BJP government.

Hamirpur MP and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) national chief Anurag Thakur yesterday blamed the Virbhadra Singh led congress government for hampering the setting up of a Central University

Thakur who was here to attend a court hearing related to Himachal Cricket Association (HPCA) functioning and construction of Dharamsala Cricket Stadium had said “the responsibility of delay was that of the state government as it was adamant about the site selection.

The previous BJP government had proposed a split campus for the university, with 70% part of it to based at Dehra (40 Kms away from Dharamsala) and the remaining 30% at Dharamsala, said Thakur.

“When the center government has agreed upon the proposal sent by the then BJP government, where was the need to send a revised proposal,” questioned the young leader.

Senior BJP state leader Ravinder Ravi, after meeting HRD Minister Smriti Irani, last month had announced that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was likely to lay the foundation stone of CUHP at Dehra in March.

Ravinder Ravi had also stated that the government was discriminating against Dehra subdivision by deciding to set up the Central University Himachal Pradesh (CUHP) campus at Dharamsala.

Ravi also alleged that the Congress government had earlier sent a proposal to set up the university at Dharamsala but it was rejected by the committee appointed by the HRD Ministry.

Site selection for two reputed institutes has become a political issue in Himachal Pradesh.

In 2010, the Central University was shifted to a temporary campus in Shahpur but till date, no permanent campus has come up as politicians have failed to come around to a consensus over site selection.

For the last four years, the Central University is being operated from a transit campus at Shahpur but all the other 16 CUs that were announced at the time of Kangra central university have started functioning.

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

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