The Bihar government has decided to repair and rebuild madarsas in a phased manner, incorporating new facilities such as libraries, hostels and science labs.
Bihar currently has 2,549 recognised madaras which get an annual grant from the state government.
This is the first time that any government in the state has taken up task of repairing and rebuilding madarsas. All construction and repair work were earlier undertaken by madarsa committees with the help of the government grant.
Minority Welfare Department Principal Secretary Amir Subhani last week held a meeting with Bihar State Madarsa Board chairman Abdul Quiyum Ansari and officials of the Building Construction and Public Health and Engineering Departments. Ansari later told reporters, “The government has given go-ahead to the much awaited plan. A committee has been formed.”
Though the state madarsa board will be the nodal agency, the Building Construction Dep-artment is the executing agency.
In the first phase, Rs 25 crore has been sanctioned for repairing and rebuilding over 25 madarsas in Aurangabad, Nalanda and Darbhanga. Other districts have been asked to send proposals through district minority welfare officers with a written undertaking that the land where the madarsa sending the proposal is situated is not under any litigation.
Sops to win over Muslim votebank
Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) president Nitish Kumar is introducing schemes in order to endear his party to the Muslim community. With his government’s policy of “no compromise with crime, corruption and communalism”, the Nitish Kumar government has been subtly trying to win over Muslims at the expense of the RJD and Congress.
A minority welfare department official said the work would be done in a phased manner, depending on approval of proposals. “As of now, it would be difficult to assess how many madarsas need to send proposals but the number might run in several hundreds,” the official said.
The Nitish Kumar government is already running over half a dozen schemes for minorities, including vocational training programmes, and giving scholarships to Muslim students. The government also has a scheme to give interest-free loan to Muslim students. The government has also recently announced to open hostels for gifted minority students.
In 2017, the government had decided to provide infrastructure funds to madarsas. However, the scheme could not be implemented.
During his first tenure as chief minister, Nitish Kumar had started the fencing of cemeteries. So far, out of 8,000 plus “sensitive” cemeteries, about 6,000 have been fenced.