Srinagar, Oct 24: The Central University of Kashmir (CUK) continues to grapple with creating its own infrastructure more than a decade since its inception, even as officials acknowledge that 80 percent of the varsity’s infrastructure is presently operating on ‘rental basis’.
The Vice Chancellor CUK Professor Farooq Ahmad Shah however is hopeful of better days in coming two to three years.
“It is a fact that only 20 percent of the varsity is operating at Tulmula in our own buildings while 80 percent is operating from rented accommodations,” VC CUK told Greater Kashmir.
The Vice Chancellor, however, said they are in process of shifting the University to its permanent campus where prefab structures have been built for the university.
“We are trying to shift the University to a permanent campus in one or two years,” the VC said.
He said, in the next couple of weeks, the University will shift the school of Education, comprising around 500 students, to Tulmulla campus, where permanent structures are being established for the varsity.
He however acknowledged that presently the University does not provide the facilities to the students which are supposed to be available in a University.
“A year ago an additional land of 90 to 94 Kanals was provided to the University where we are planning to establish a township which will consist of faculty quarters and hostels for the students and research scholars,” the VC CUK said.
He said a DPR is being framed to establish the structure to fulfil the needs of staff and the students. “Hostel facilities will be a priority for us,” he said.
Briefing about the current situation of the University, the VC Prof Farooq Ahmad Shah said the varsity has been functioning from the structures which were left abandoned or were not usable for the government departments which were shifted to their new buildings.
“These buildings were not usable and were left abandoned. We did some face lifting and renovation of these structures and used them to make our University functional in these buildings,” he said.
He said the structures coming up at the actual construction site of the University will have all the modern facilities which will fulfil the contemporary needs and demands.
“No doubt these are Prefab structures but these structures will be equipped with the best facilities,” he said.
Notably, the CUK has since 2009 been operating from rented accommodations in different parts of Srinagar City and, at present, different locations in Ganderbal.
Its administrative office was set-up at Hyderpora Srinagar in May 2009 while the Transit Campus was set up at Sonwar in August 2010.
A boys’ hostel was set up at Sonwar to facilitate the students coming from different parts of the J&K UT/Country, even as an Academic block of the University along with a boys and a girls’ hostel was established at Magarmal Bagh Srinagar.
While the CUK authorities have time and again blamed ‘poor land and soil quality’ at Tulmulla for delay in constructions, the Ministry of Education, Government of India earlier constituted a high-level committee—popularly known as the Rao Committee after Professor Rao of the IIT Delhi—which heavily criticized the university administrators for holding this ‘flawed view’.
Prof Rao once remarked in the presence of a former VC that such views must not be allowed to propagate because ‘there is no place on earth where buildings cannot come up’ and that it is ‘just a matter of making use of the right technology’ to make it happen in today’s world.
While the varsity is grappling with the accommodation crunch, the students and research scholars complain of lack of basic facilities of hostels in the University.
The VC CUK however said the University would provide hostel accommodation to around 300 students since its establishment and when it was made functional from rented accommodations at different locations.
“But from August 2019 onwards we faced hostel issues as the buildings provided by J&K government to CUK were taken over by the district administration Ganderbal to accommodate protected persons in these structures,” the VC CUK said.
He said the Varsity had no buildings of its own due to which it had set up a hostel facility in a building (CMO Building) at Ganderbal.
“But the building was taken over by the district administration Ganderbal to accommodate protected persons after DDC elections,” he said.
He said a private building hired by the University for hostel purposes was also taken over by the district administration.