The Centre has sanctioned Rs 2,727 crore for the construction of Nalanda University over the next decade. Union Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, who formally inaugurated the university’s first academic session Friday, said the Centre was committed to take the project beyond India and east Asian countries.
“We have not merely revived a university today but also resumed a rich tradition. Nalanda is the link between past and present and bridge to the future,” said Swaraj.
Swaraj, who also visited the original campus at Rajgir, said she agreed with Bihar CM Jeetan Ram Manjhi’s proposal of an airport for the city. Manjhi also proposed setting up an authority to develop the area.
The otherwise smooth event had an odd moment when a peepal sapling to be planted by Swaraj arrived marked as “bargad” (banyan).
Members of the university’s governing body, Lord Meghnad Desai, N K Singh and Anil Wadhwa, also attended the event.
Swaraj said: “Interest in the revival of Nalanda University was not limited to people of India. In the year when the then president APJ Abdul Kalam had come up with the idea, the Centre had also received a proposal from Singapore in this regard. The Centre owned it later and ensured that it is not limited to being a state university.”
“Though the East Asian Summit countries have been contributing to the flagship project, we invite other countries to take it beyond,” she said.
“We believe Nalanda University will emerge as a centre of excellence by developing cutting-edge technology,” she said. With its construction set to start from next February, the university will have an arts centre and museum, amphitheatre, recording studio, auditorium, biogas plant, railway station and sports fields.