Shifting of agriculture division to Wadura irks SKUAST students, faculty

Moazum Mohammad

Srinagar: The shifting of SK University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir’s (SKAUST-K) faculty of agriculture to Wadura in north Kashmir has evoked strong resentment among faculty, scholars and students seeking PDP-BJP government’s intervention to stall the move.
Undergraduate and post-graduate students in agriculture division had cancelled the admission after learning about the proposed move because the campus is situated about 50kms from Srinagar. Agricultural division, which was established in 1980’s, is considered a major branch in the varsity. During the previous NC-Congress regime, the university had proposed shifting the faculty of forestry to Wadura from Ganderbal. However, the objection brought by faculty and students forced the government to put it on hold.
“We have submitted the pros and cons of shifting the agriculture faculty to Wadura. North Kashmir is viable for horticulture but some people are hell-bent to relocate the agriculture division,” said a senior faculty wishing anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to media.
A scholar in the campus said travelling to and fro would consume precious time of the students. “The government should not move ahead with the proposal because it will be detrimental for students. We apprised the VC about our reservations but in vain,” the student said.
The university should focus upon building infrastructure so that students don’t have to suffer. “Laboratories lack essential chemicals and often students have to purchase it by spending money from their own pockets. Old furniture and lack of proper classrooms are the issues that students complain about. But nobody acts upon our complaints,” the student said.
It was learnt the increasing intake capacity of students further burden on the creaky infrastructure of the university.
“Both faculty and administration are involved in politics. While people from Wadura aren’t willing to shift to Shalimar campus, similarly people sitting in SKAUST-Shalimar do want to travel there. Our problems have got aggravated in the meantime,” students said.
“University is an autonomous institution but still I will look into the issue,” Minister of Agriculture Ghulam Nabi Hanjoora told Kashmir Reader.
VC Tej Pratap Singh wasn’t available for his comment.