Nitish wins varsity war, brings Sibal on board

Ministry will amend law to set up second university

The Centre expressed its gratitude to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for supporting UPA nominee for the Presidential election, Pranab Mukherjee, as the Human Resource Development   Ministry has announced that two central universities will come up in the state, instead of just one.

“I have given the approval for establishment of a central university in Motihari and I am happy that the issue has been resolved," Human Resource Development   Ministry Minister Kapil Sibal said here on Friday, adding that another university will come up in Gaya.

The issue has been a bone of contention for quite some time, as Sibal wanted to set up the university somewhere close to Patna, while Kumar wanted one at Motihari district.
As the Bihar government delayed approving land for the project near Patna, the HRD ministry managed to get defence land in Gaya and sought Bihar government’s cooperation.

The HRD Ministry was of the view that the university should be set up at a location with good connectivity while Kumar continued to bat for Motihari, contending that it was the right location for the project.

An university in Motihari will bring the curtains down on “regional disparities,” Kumar had said and even made a public commitment for the same. Meanwhile, the state Assembly also passed a resolution in support of the proposal for setting up a central university in Motihari.

The HRD Ministry’s announcement comes at a time marked by a bitter war of words between Kumar and Modi and the former’s support to UPA’s presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee.

Earlier this week, a site selection committee of the HRD ministry visited Motihari, for the second time after 2009, and recommended a 300-acre site on the NH-28, along the Bankat Bairia and Fursatpur villages, under the Chandrahia panchayat of Motihari circle. The committee’s recommendation was immediately accepted by the Ministry.

The committee noted that site was suitable as it was located on a national highway and roads in north Bihar, leading to Motihari, were improving. The Ministry, however, said the decision to set up two central universities in the state was taken to “respect the sentiments” of the state’s people.

“Ministry will take action for amending the central universities Act, 2009, so that the second university is established and the development of the permanent campuses of these universities start. Government of Bihar has also promised to expedite the proposals for improving infrastructure,” an official said. 

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