Politicking over the proposed Central University has again reached a peak with the ruling Congress party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party accusing each other of being responsible for the delay in setting up the new campus.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh blamed the previous BJP regime for politicizing the issue. The varsity was allotted to the state seven years ago by the UPA government.
"The university campus isn't the issue at all, rather it was the BJP that played politics on this," he said after arriving in Dharamsala for a day's visit. "The varsity's campus will be set up in Dharamsala in accordance with government's previous announcement, while several departments will function from different places. It's due to the tug of war of the BJP that has further delayed setting up the Central University. The campus will be set up in the place where the government wants," he added.
BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti, who was also in Dharamsala to take stock of the arrangements for the party's two-day meet, hit out at the government over delay in setting up the central university "There should not be any politics on education institutions. It's the prime duty of the government to make land available for the university. The central government had allocated Rs 1 crore for the university, so the government should speed up work on building the campus," he added.
At the time when the university was sanctioned by the central government, the state BJP government decided to split the university into two campuses - one at Dharamsala and the other at Dehra, which is a part of the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency.
The campus at Dharamsala was known as the Dhauladhar campus, while the other in Dehra is known as the Beas campus. Former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal's decision to split the university had evoked sharp criticism from the Congress government. Chander Kumar, sitting Lok Sabha member, had launched a campaign against the BJP on the issue.
The government had allotted 62.52 acres of land at Indrunag near Dharamsala and 30% of academic infrastructure and complete administrative infrastructure was proposed on this campus.
However, the Congress on returning to power ordered a fresh survey of the Dharamsala campus and 120 acres additional land were found. For the Beas campus, which was to be located in Dehra, the government had identified a total of 317.97 acres of land that was allotted and 70% of the academic infrastructure was proposed to come up on this campus. However, for the Beas and Dhauladhar campuses, forest clearances are still awaited.
Accusing the BJP of unnecessarily making a "hue and cry" over the sports bill, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said the bill would ensure transparency in sports associations in the state.
"The bill introduced during the Congress party regime in 2005 was repealed by the BJP government led by Prem Kumar Dhumal. Sports associations should not fear the bill.
All sports bodies will come under the purview of this legislation. The bill will also go long way in curbing the monopoly of certain people in sports associations as patrons and lifetime members won't have voting rights," he added.