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Bihar’s quest for Centre University delays due to wrong reasons

Friday September 16, 2011 07:26:49 PM, Mohammad Mudassir Alam

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Bihar is in the path of progress, this is claimed time and again by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. And to the utter surprise, how the international media and the US Congress report is praising Bihar government. God knows in which area Bihar is developing, the fact is far from the claims of Nitish led NDA government.


Leave the other areas, talk about the higher education in which Bihar is still lagging behind from almost all the progressive states of the country. Call it the good fate of Nitish Kumar or his government, during the first term of the government two proposals for setting up Central universities came in the form of AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) Special Centre and Nalanda International University.

Both the proposals were like a precious gift for the educationally backward state of Bihar, which doesn’t have any central university to its name. Quite incidentally, the proposals for the two universities were offered in the year 2008. Even three years after the proposals, the government of Nitish Kumar shown lethargic approach to establish the centre. However, the establishment of these central universities became a part of politics, and somehow the “Vikas Purush” Nitish Kumar is responsible for this.

Initially, the proposed AMU Centre in Kishanganj became a part of politics. The multi-crore project of Aligarh Muslim University for a mega campus offering education from school level to higher level including professional courses didn’t get proper response from Bihar Government. Initially Nitish Kumar offered 100 acres of land, which was increased upto 243 acres in Kishanganj.


But, the Bihar government kept two conditions, first the land will be given on lease for 30 years and it will be not officially transferred to AMU. Next hurdle was the illegal encroachment done by the tribals on the guidelines of a local political leader of Kishanganj. Another issue, the land was offered in three parts that altogether was not good to run a massive university centre. The VC of AMU denied to accept the controversial land following his visit to Kishanganj on May 22, 2010.

Since then, the Government of Bihar is delaying the issue by giving illogical statements like we have already offered land to AMU but the VC is not accepting. Just of fulfill the formality, the Bihar government invited the AMU VC again on July 11,2011 and shown three new sites, which are public agricultural land and acquisition of 250 acres land is not an easy job.


The VC of AMU also visited a land offered by a local resident of Kishanganj Afzal Hussain at Pothia block, which is considered as best site by the AMU team. Once again, the land offered by Afzal Hussain became a part of controversy and the DM of Kishanganj doesn’t come forward to officially accept the land and transfer AMU. The proposal of AMU Centre is hanging between the Bihar government and AMU VC due to land transfer issue.

The Nalanda International University, a brainchild of former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam got support from centre government and Nitish Kumar as well. In fact, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam conceived the idea of the Nalanda International University as the President of the country. Even after the completion of his tenure as President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam continued to take interest. The government of Bihar appointed Kalam as the Visitor of the Nalanda International University. In February 2008, Dr Kalam accompanied Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to see the proposed site where the 400 acres land was acquired for NIU. During that visit, the Chief Minister was attacked by the local farmers with mud and stones alleging that they have not been paid proper compensation for the land acquired from them.

Nitish Kumar and his government was giving proper attention to the Nalanda International University. However, a couple of days back, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam dissociated himself from the proposal of the Nalanda International University. In a reply to the e-mail sent to senior Patna-based journalist, K K Singh, the information about dissociation of Kalam was given by his Executive Secretary, H Sheridon. The message reads: “With reference to your mail, we would like to inform you that Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, is no more involved in Nalanda University.”

Earlier, Singh wrote an Open Letter to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and sent a copy to Dr Kalam. The Patna based journalist wrote the letter on the appointment of Ms Gopa Sabarwal, a Reader in Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, as the Vice Chancellor of the Nalanda International University. The letter expressed anguish and shock over what is happening on this front. Singh also questioned the role being played by Mentor Group in the appointment of the VC, who lacks the required experience.

What is the reason behind the Dr Kalam’s dissociation from the proposed Nalanda International University and appointment of the Vice Chancellor it is not clear. Talking with media the Chief Minister said “I have nothing to do with this appointment. This is not our issue. The Centre has appointed him. I want that this University start functioning soon. I have not left any stone unturned in this regard. When the Centre made an Act in this regard and we declared our Act null and void. We have even provided land for the Nalanda International University."

Whatever is the reason behind the Nalanda International University controversy, this is a big shock for the state of Bihar. People residing in Bihar had gained some hope for getting higher education in the state with the proposals of AMU Study Centre and Nalanda International University. But the lack of coordination between the state and central government, and some vested interest of political leaders is going to cost the people of Bihar. In short, with such political negligence only the deprived people of Bihar are going to suffer and this will take the state to backfoot. Nitish Kumar, not only concentrate your attention to steal the headlines of media with your tall claims, Bihar wishes to see the real development on ground level not on papers.



Mohammad Mudassir Alam is a New Delhi based freelance journalist







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