Despite funds, MANUU campus construction in limbo

Despite funds, MANUU campus construction in limbo
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‘Civil administration not helping resolve problems’

Sadaf Shabir
Budgam: Except for a foundation stone and a half-done guard room, nothing has come up on the vast swathes of land meant for the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) Kashmir campus in the last five years.
The varsity’s foundation stone was laid in 2013 on 100 kanals of land at Patwaw, Budgam, by former chief minister Omar Abdullah along with the then Human Resource Development minister, MM Pallan Raju.
Last week, this reporter visited the site on a hillock in Budgam and found that the foundation stone has been damaged. There was no construction work going on.
Regional Director MANNU Dr Mohammad Aijaz Ashraf told Kashmir Reader that digital survey, soil testing and designing of buildings for the university had been carried out in 2013-2014.
“However funds were not available, so we were forced to stop work in 2015. In 2016-17, funds were released, and we published tenders for construction of guardroom and boundary wall,” he said.
Dr Aijaz said that the work on the guardroom has been completed, but they are facing a bottleneck in raising the campus’s boundary wall as the land owners are seeking to have a road constructed before work on the university campus is started.
“The state government is not helping us to solve the problems of an approach road, water supply and electricity,” he said, adding that the university wrote a letter to the District Commissioner, Budgam, as well about the problems.
The varsity’s regional director said that since the financial year is coming to an end, the funds would lapse if the work was not started soon.
“If construction work will not start till March, a tranche of funds of over Rs 3 crore will lapse,” he added.
On his part, Budgam’s district commissioner Haroon Malik said that the university authorities should come to his office with a charter of demands. However, he denied the funds would lapse because according to him the campus is funded by the government of India’s Central Public Works department.
“We will provide water connection to the campus, and for other demands they should come to meet me in my office,” Malik said, adding that they would have responded to the university’s communiqué.