Coffee House Gup Shup: Himachal Central University, a Political Warzone

On a cold afternoon, sipping on a hot cup of brunette at the coffee house,  a group of ruling government cliques got together to appraise and support recent comments made by Sudhir Sharma regarding setting up of the Central university campus. Sudhir Sharma is the Minster of Urban development in the Himachal Pradesh Govt and while talking to PTI he had said, “The earlier proposal for making the campus at Dharamshala was never rejected. More than 160 hectares of land was being allocated at Dharamshala viz a viz 81 hectares at Dehra, which would not require any clearances from the environment or forest ministries. This would ensure that the setting up process is faster and that there are no regulatory delays.”

At the same time he accepted the opposition’s viewpoint on the issue and added, “I am in favor of a few of the Central University colleges being set up at Dehra too”. The supporters seemed pacified at the Ministers take on the issue and ordered some hot Vada- Sambhar while praising, the government for its right decision.

However, the red cap support of the table objected to the Minister’s comments reminding the supporters, “The previous UPA government had approved the location for Central University at Dehra. The Government should give explanations for the need to have a special cabinet meeting and to send afresh proposal to GOI for establishing the university at Dharamshala.”

Their argument convinced all on the table about the political vendetta between the two “Diggazs” of Himachal and how it has led to the delay of the Central University campus setup. All seemed to agree that political compulsions was behind the delays while all other Central Universities  announced in 2007 by Manmohan Singh  government had already established themselves.

On the table next to ours at the coffee house were some professors of the Himachal Pradesh University enjoying a dosa, and who couldn’t help but join the conversation. One of these learned professor friends said,” The Central University is a temple of learning and being insiders at HPU, we can understand the current situation of the state owned institution. The best place according to us, to set up the Central University has to be the HPU campus itself. This could have been another way of supporting the financially poor state owned institution and could have helped HPU to strive towards the next level of research and development.”

Gulping the dosa with anxiety another of the professor friend commented,” HPU was a known institution once but is dying a slow death now due to lack of support from state government and increasing political interferences. The funding for Central University allotted by the central ministry could have been better utilized if it was being set up in HPU campus itself. This would have also put an end to all sorts of politics which caused this enormous delay in setting up of the institution.”

He further added,” but in our so called Shining India the right people and the right viewpoints are never taken into consideration, nor do they matter to these throne saving politicians.”  In the end all hoped that the Central University foundation stone would be laid soon at Dharamshala at least before politics played any further role in the whole issue.

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