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Thursday, November 19, 2009 08:49:54 AM, Aleem Faizee,

AMU to have 250-acre branch in Bihar: The centre of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Bihar would come up in 250 acres, instead of 100 acres now, as the Bihar government has allotted an additional 150 acres of land free to .... Read full

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Malegaon: With the allocation of lands and funds in its final phase, three states in India are all set to see establishment of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) facilitated centers on their soil. However, courtesy to the lackluster attitude of the state government towards the proposal, the much publicised AMU centre in Maharashtra is hanging in doldrums.


As per the AMU proposal, University authorities asked the selected states in the country to provide the land so as to establish its off-campus centers. Taken against the backdrop of the assessments made in the Sachar Commission Report and alarmingly low literacy level of the Muslim community in India, the initiative aimed at regaining the University a national stature and providing leadership to minority education in the country.


According to University PRO Dr. Rahat Abrar, the University had decided to establish five regional AMU centers in the minority concentrated backward areas. The decision was endorsed by the Court in its meeting held on December 2, 2007 and later by its Executive Council in a meeting held on January 7, 2008. The sites proposed were Murshidabad in West Bengal, Malappuram in Kerala, Katihar in Bihar, Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Pune in Maharashtra.


"Moreover", Dr. Rahat says, "These distant centers would be approved by the Central Government and it would also enable the University to fulfill the responsibilities mandated by the AMU Act 1981."


As Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) - known for the pivotal role it had played for the educational revival of the Indian Muslims during the post 1857 tragic times - is still held in high esteem by the community, the decision was greeted with unprecedented enthusiasm and much fanfare.


AMU center is for the state...

"The AMU off-campus center in Maharashtra would benefit people across the religion and community. It is not just meant for the Muslims. If the campus is lost because of the negligence of the government, it would be a big loss for the state."

- Ex Minister Anees Ahmed

Hence, following the University communiqués to the respective chief secretaries in the five states, Kerala, West Bengal and Bihar swiftly acted on the proposal and made the land - measuring 250-300 acres as demanded by the authorities - available to the University. Finally, the University authorities inspected the lands and after their nod, the central government sanctioned the promised funds amounting to 25 crore for these centers.


However, at the time when three of the five states were showing remarkable promptness - of course after the Muslim leaderships in these states exerted pressure on the respective governments - to grab the opportunity, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh did not care even to reply to the University's requests.


"As per our plans in other states, to establish the proposed off-campus AMU centre, we needed 250 to 300 acres of land in Pune. Hence, along with other states the University wrote a letter to the Chief Secretary of Maharashtra also. When we did not get any reply, we sent a reminder. Unfortunately, even the reminder met with the same fate. The result is that  in Maharashtra the University failed to show any progress in this regard", Dr. Rahat Abrar disclosed to


On his part, Mahrashtra Chief Secretary Johny Joseph when inquired about the issue by said, "We did receive the proposal from the University. But the University authorities should come and identify the land. Unless they identify and locate the land, how can we give nod to their proposal?"


When insisted that the University authorities have already finalised Pune as the venue of the proposed AMU off-campus center and it is now up to the government of Maharashtra to identify suitable land in the city, Johny Joseph repeated, "The University authorities should visit the Pune city and identify the land suitable for them."


Meanwhile, when contacted Arif Naseem Khan who has taken the oath as Minority Affairs Minister in the newly formed Maharashtra government, he declined to comment on the issue. Whereas former Minority Affairs Minister Anees Ahmed was totally unaware if the erstwhile government had received any such proposal from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).


"I don't say that the AMU had not sent the proposal for establishing the AMU facilitated centre to the state chief secretary. What I say is if such a proposal from the AMU was there why the chief secretary failed to present it in front of the government? And if he had done so, why the proposal never came for a discussion in the cabinet?", he said to before adding, "The fact is that there appears to be serious problems with the bureaucracy in Maharashtra when it comes to addressing the issues pertaining to the Muslim community."


Elaborating further the ex-minister said, "The Government in its cabinet meeting held on July 22 this year in Nashik had given sanctions for establishing ITI centers and Girls' hostels in minority concentrated districts in North Maharashtra. After the cabinet approval, every formality was also fulfilled. Yet the finance department is sitting on these projects and is not releasing the required funds."


"The AMU off-campus center in Maharashtra would benefit people across the religion and community. It is not just meant for the Muslims. If the campus is lost because of the negligence of the government, it would be a big loss for the state", he warned.


Interestingly, Bihar which has sanctioned the land for the AMU special center along with Kerala and West Bengal is run by a government supported by the BJP. And the BJP together with its saffron allies has openly expressed opposition to the landmark proposals terming the entire plan - true to their popular stand vis-à-vis Muslim interests - as yet another attempt 'to appease the Indian Muslims'.


Contrary to Bihar, Maharashtra is having a Congress led government and the AMU proposal is having a strong backing and financial support from the Congress-led UPA government in center. Against this backdrop, one fails to understand why the Maharashtra government is not showing any interest in a proposal eagerly awaited by the Muslims to be converted into a reality. Master of the power corridors undeniably because of the Muslim support in the recently held elections, is the Congress-led government in Maharashtra ready to show a respect for the strong desire brewing among the vast majority of the Muslims in the state?







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