SRINAGAR: The Central University of Kashmir on Monday won praise for “unprecedented” progress made in last seven years.
During his fifth visit to Kashmir to evaluate the functioning of Central University of Kashmir (CUK), Srikumar Banerjee, the varsity chancellor, however, said that the CUK lags far behind in infrastructure building.
A renowned scientist, Banerjee is recipient of Padma Shree award and is first chancellor of CUK, which was established in 2009.
Banerjee was in town to attend the annual CUK court meeting, which he chaired last month.
“In court meetings, we invite people, wise people, both from J&K and outside who suggest how to move forward,” he said. “During this court meeting, the members were very satisfied with academic progress.”
He however added that the members were “not satisfied with infrastructure”.
“Number of students in 2010 was in 90s… (but) today it is (around) 2140,” he remarked. “So this kind of rise in the number (of students) (and) number of departments, programs… quite innovative programs… itself shows (the growth)….”
Explaining the reasons of lack of infrastructure, the CUK chancellor said, “We were very happy after 500 acre of space (was allotted) by state government, funds (were released) by central government and the Ganderbal location is beautiful with a better master plan but there are procedural issues in implementation like quality of soil.”
“Soil is soft and at places it is soft up to 20 metres beneath the surface level,” he explained.
The constructing agency, he said, has done the land filling and is “quite good”. “(but) our real large building construction has not happened (yet),” he added. “Two basic structures are under construction and are being handed over to us by NBCC in two-month time.”
Further, he said that CUK had started building the boundary wall but “it is falling off (despite) piling”.
In the circumstances, the CUK has been able to spend only 26 percent of its funds. “Money was not spent on buildings that is why (it lapsed)”.
On future of research in sciences in Kashmir, Banerjee said that the students need to be able to create livelihood, “not only for themselves but for others as well and that is important thing to be done in Kashmir”.
He stressed on skill development in handicraft, horticulture and tourism sectors.
“We have to penetrate into different livelihood schemes (in Kashmir),” he said.
“Science is penetrating in our lives in all respects; we just can’t go away from science… when we think of employment generation, Kashmiri youth are standing shoulder to shoulder with anyone across the world. (but it is) extremely important that we have more people in career making, technology, IT, management.”
Comparing his first and the current visits to the CUK, the chancellor said that he has a “positive feeling”. “Then I had a big hope to show some major development which did not happen. There is growth but our expectation was more,” he said, while appreciating the faculty for the “achievements”.
“We are not filling up all the posts by the senior people, we are taking in younger people as well. (And) we have a quite substantial representation in faculty from outside J&K,” he added.
On the question of student unions in varsities, Banerjee acknowledged that the students learn more from their colleagues than teachers at universities, but added, “Student association in principle is very important but if the student association is for the purpose (which has) nothing to do with the academics, then what for?” “It is destruction for the academics.”