Days after the Union ministry of human resource development (HRD) cleared 88 hectares of non-forest and forestland proposed by the state government for setting up Central University of Himachal Pradesh Campus at Dehra, former minister and BJP legislator Ravinder Singh Ravi said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to lay the foundation stone of the institution by March-end.
Addressing a press conference at Dehra, Ravi said following the HRD nod, the Union ministry for environment and forests (MoEF) has also granted approval for converting the forestland for setting up the campus.
"The Prime Minister is likely to lay the foundation stone of CUHP at Dehra during his proposed visit by March-end," said the Dehra MLA, adding that former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal had recently met the Prime Minister and invited him to visit the hill state.
Four BJP leaders, including Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president and Hamirpur MP Anurag Thakur, Ravinder Ravi, Jaswan-Pragpur MLA Bikram Thakur and Kulehar MLA Varinder Kanwar, had met HRD minister Smirti Irani on Monday seeking her approval to lay foundation stone of CUHP at Dehra at the earliest.
Ravi said they had submitted the revenue records pertaining to 88 hectares of land identified at Dehra for the institution, which includes 35 hectares of non-forest land already transferred in the name of CUHP, to the Union HRD minister during the meeting.
"Irani granted the approval to the Dehra land for CUHP and assured that the work on it will start soon," said Ravi.
The issue of setting up CUHP campus had also come up during the recently concluded winter session of the state assembly.
The government while responding to a query from Ravi had admitted that the land at Dehra was already registered in the name of CUHP when the BJP was in power in the state.
However, chief minister Virbhadra Singh had maintained that the state government was in favour of single campus of CUHP anywhere in Kangra district instead of two-campus theory proposed by the previous BJP government.
Minister for town and country planning, Sudhir Sharma who is close to the CM and now represents Dharamsala assembly segment was lobbying hard for keeping the CUHP campus in his constituency.
The government, under Sharma's influence, had sent a revised proposal offering 400 acres of land for CUHP at Dharamsala. However, now the state government will have to accept the decision of the Union HRD ministry on bringing the CUHP campus at Dehra.