After three years and two budgetary allocations totalling Rs 104 crore, the Uttar Pradesh government’s “minority education hub scheme” has failed to rise from the Samajwadi Party’s election manifesto for the 2012 Assembly polls.
The UP government’s Minority Welfare Department had promised to set up modern colleges, coaching centres and other facilities in 20 minority-concentrated districts of the state. But while the plan has not seen any advancement in the three years, the government’s budgetary allocation — Rs 34 crore in 2013-14 and another Rs 70 crore in 2015-16 — too, is lying unused with the department, which is headed by Cabinet minister Azam Khan.
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Officials in the minority department admitted to the scheme’s failure to take off but claimed it is due to the “unavailability of land”, while conceding that it has become “very difficult” to start the project now.
“We can only write letters to the district magistrates for making the land available for the scheme,” said Faizur Rehman, Director, Minority Welfare Department. Rehman said that he has written “several letters to each of the 20 DMs” in the past few months. “But there has not been a single response so far,” he claimed, and admitted that fund is not the issue but the land is.
Under the scheme, 20 minority-concentrated districts – including Rampur, Moradabad, Lucknow, Bareilly, Barabanki, Badaun, Shahjahanpur, Bahraich, Shrawasti and Muzaffarnagar – would each get an education hub comprising two model inter colleges (for boys and girls), skill development institute, various courses of IGNOU, vocational courses, and coaching centres to prepare students for competitive entrance examinations for medical, engineering, CAT, CA etc. The education hub scheme would have been a counter to the one proposed by Union Ministry of Minority Affairs under its Multi-Sectoral Development Project through which inter colleges, ITI, polytechnics would be constructed.
Its education hub, the state minority department had claimed in 2013, “will change the scenario among Muslim students as they will be provided all education under one roof.”
While the scenario may not be changing any time soon, the department, however, has not lost hope.
“Since the scheme is to be implemented in minority-concentrated districts, its area is restricted. Nobody gives land for such schemes. As for the government-owned land, it is unavailable,” Rehman said, but added that the department is still trying to launch the scheme.