Gujarat university working from school campus

Modi yet to provide land for buildings in Ahmedabad

Notwithstanding tall claims by Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi, a Central university in his state has been functioning from a primary school campus in Gandhinagar since it was set up in 2009.

Modi is yet to provide land to set up the varsity’s permanent campus in the state capital despite giving an assurance to Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister M M Pallam Raju of taking “immediate action” on the issue in May this year.

The HRD Ministry initially wanted 500 acres of land to set up the campus of the university. As the Gujarat government claimed non-availability of such a huge piece of land both in Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, the ministry requested allotment of a 247 acres of land available at Lekawada in Gandhinagar in June 2011. The ministry said it would maintain at least 50 of the 247 acres as green area.

“We reduced the land requirement of 500 acres and requested them to provide the land available Lekawada. This issue was taken up with the state government several times, but nothing came out of it. Several reminders were given to the state secretary of the Department of Higher Education, but we received no response,” said an HRD Ministry official.

The Gujarat Chief Minister assured he would take “immediate action and render necessary assistance” after the Union HRD Minister personally brought the matter before him on May 13. “In view of the Gujarat Chief Minister’s assurance, the Union Higher Education Secretary wrote a letter to the Gujarat Chief Secretary requesting transfer of land to the university to set up of its permanent campus. No response has so far been received from the state government in this regard,” added the Ministry official. 

The varsity, where a total of 600 students are currently enrolled, is functioning from a two-storey building at a primary school campus at Sector 30 in Gandhinagar.
Interestingly, after years of dilly-dallying, the state government has recently offered a high-school building for the varsity at Sector 29 in Gandhinagar instead of any piece of land to set up its permanent campus, according to a source in the varsity.

“They say it (the high-school building) is more spacious than the one we are functioning from. We have somehow managed to function from this primary school campus,” varsity source told Deccan Herald over the phone. The varsity administration has constructed a few temporary classrooms with the help of the Central Public Works Department to meet the requirements.

“The university could have helped a large number of students in the state had it had been provided adequate land for its own campus. But look at the state government’s apathy. We are unable to expand here because of space constraints,” added the varsity source, requesting anonymity. 

The Human Resource Development Ministry is scheduled to hold a meeting of state secretaries on Monday. “The issue will be raised before the state government at the meeting,” said an HRD Ministry official.

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