Panel formed to select site for project proposed by PM cancels visit
Uncertainty looms large over the ambitious multi-crore project of a world-class Central university proposed for the city. A high-level Central panel,headed by University Grants Commission (UGC) chairman Dr Sukhadeo Thorat,cancelled its proposed visit to the city for selecting the site.
PM Dr Manmohan Singh had last year announced to set up six world-class universities in the country,of which one was proposed in his hometown Amritsar.
Education standard in Punjab,once hit hard by terrorism and neglect,had dipped abysmally. The selection of the city for the project aimed at providing the much-needed impetus to higher education in the region.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badals statement that 700 acres,demanded by the UGC and the Union Ministry of Human Resources,were not available in the city or its surroundings had kicked off a row. He has invited wrath of the residents and other political parties,especially the Congress,which criticised him for downplaying the project. The project is a great idea,which will benefit the whole region,especially Punjab. The government must provide land for it, said Congress leader SJS Lally Majithia.
On the other hand,former minister and MLA Bikram Singh Majithia and MP Navjot Singh Sidhu said the state government would do everything to ensure that the land was provided on priority. When asked about the Central panel cancelling the visit,they said they were not aware of it,but would find out the reasons.
Meanwhile,former deputy commissioner and special secretary to the CM Kahan Singh Pannu said the Central panel has postponed the visit indefinitely. I am in touch with the officials concerned in Delhi. They have postponed the visit due to the Parliament session,but will give another date, said Pannu,adding that land was not a problem. I had informed the panel about various sites on Ram Tirath Road,Fatehgarh Churian Road and Majitha Road. Once they study the feasibility,acquisition will start, he said,adding that if the farmers were adequately compensated,they would happily part with their land. Guru Nanak Dev University Registrar (GNDU) Dr RS Bawa,who has been closely watching the project,said the idea behind the setting up of the university was a welcome step,as it would put the Holy City on the education map of the country. The state government should do everything to ensure that the basic requirement,an appropriate site,is provided, added Bawa.