Just before the last assembly elections, the Punjab government had started Guru Ravidas Ayurved University in the city in the Panchayat Bhawan building in 2011 with much fanfare and started work on a new building on the leased land in Kharkan village, 10 km from here, but it has failed to provide required funds for its completion.
The public works department (PWD) has been left with no option but to suspend the work. The contractor concerned has threatened to sue the department if he is not paid his dues without further delay. University authorities are running from pillar to post to keep the project on track.
Work is at a standstill for about a year. The contractor has deployed a watch and ward at the site at his own cost, but he has given an ultimatum to the department to arrange one for themselves.
PWD officials have passed the buck to the university authorities. Since the building has no boundary wall, there is threat to the new structure as well as the material lying around it. The department wants to hand over the incomplete building to the university. but the latter is reluctant to accept it in its existing condition.
Vice-chancellor Prof O P Upadhya revealed that so far they had received Rs 3.3 crore from the state government and Rs 3.1 crore from the department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Sidhi and Homoeopathy) which functions under the union ministry of health and family welfare.
He said he was constantly writing to all authorities concerned in the state and at the Centre for release of funds. Recently the matter was brought to the notice of Union finance minister Arun Jaitley through local MP and minister of state Vijay Sampla, he added.
"In the first phase of the project, we had to spend around Rs 11 crore while the total project is worth over Rs 50 crore," the VC informed, adding that the university proposed to start its own college with administrative, residential and hostel buildings.
He said the university wanted the Panchayat Bhawan land transferred to its name to start a Panchkarma centre and an OPD.
PWD executive engineer Ramtesh Bains, when contacted, revealed that against the estimate of Rs 6.57 crore, the department had received Rs 5.20 crore for the civil works. "We have spent around Rs 6.19 crore. Due to the delay in payment, the contractor has refused to construct a boundary wall and finish other miscellaneous works. We are caught in a Catch 22 situation", he added.
The university was set up with an aim to promote research in different faculties of AYUSH. On the initiative of former MLA Tikshan Sud, the Kharkan village panchayat had given 33 acre land for the project. As many as 12 colleges of ayurveda and 4 of homeopathy are affiliated to this university.