Dealing a blow to yet another pet project of former chief minister Ashok Gehlot, the Rajasthan government is set to relocate the Rajiv Gandhi Tribal University from Udaipur to the interiors — near Beneshwar Dham in Dungarpur district. The university was introduced by Gehlot right before the assembly polls.
The Haridev Joshi University for Journalism and Mass Communication, also introduced by Gehlot, is already being shut down.
Both institutions had been the put under the scanner by the Vasundhara Raje government soon after it came to power in December 2013.
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The shift is likely to hit the Tribal University hard, as insiders say it will be difficult to attract good faculty and provide a competitive environment in the interiors.
At present, the university runs out of a building in the divisional headquarters of Udaipur within the Mohanlal Sukhadia University. It has 82 post-graduate students in their second year and admissions for the new batch have already started. Apart from Vice-Chancellor T C Damor, a former Inspector General rank IPS officer, who was appointed by the Gehlot government, the university has no regular faculty and has been dependent on guest faculty for conducting classes.
Along with several other schemes and projects of the previous Congress regime, this university too is being reviewed by a cabinet sub-committee. While it won’t be shut down like the journalism university, the sub-committee has recommended its relocation.
Higher Education Minister Kalicharan Saraf told The Sunday Express, “The tribal university is in the wrong location. We have identified another location for it between Dungarpur and Banswara in Beneshwar Dham. Currently, it operates out of a building in Udaipur, but a tribal university should be in the heart of tribal land and not in a city.”
Saraf said that the move was likely to upset the Gehlot ‘lobby’ in the university, but a change of location was final. “It will go to a place where the tribals will benefit the most. We also plan to affiliate all local colleges in the area to this university. It is open to general students with more reservation for tribals, be it for students or faculty,” he added.