| Construction in progress at the Nalanda University site. Picture by Piyush Kumar Tripathi |
Nalanda, Jan. 9: Chief minister Nitish Kumar’s dream to see Nalanda International University become operational has finally started to take concrete shape with the construction of the first pillars beginning recently.
A signboard at the construction site states that Rs 10.19 crore has been sanctioned for the boundary wall of the proposed university, which would come up on a 450-acre plot located on the eastern Rajgir-Chhabilapur Road in the district.
Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Ltd, an undertaking of the state road construction department, has appointed Allied Infrastructure Pvt Ltd to construct the boundary wall. The construction work began on December 22, 2011, following the finalisation of the agreement on December 20.
Gopa Sabharwal, the vice-chancellor-designate of Nalanda International University, told The Telegraph over phone from Delhi that the architectural design of the new institution would be finalised by the end of this year.
“The ongoing construction (of the boundary wall) around the land earmarked for the university would be over within seven months, while the process to prepare the master plan would begin in three months. The master plan will take care of land usage for construction of academic and residential buildings as well as landscaping of the entire campus. Global tenders would be floated to select the agency. It would be entrusted with the task of making detailed building plans. The agency would get six months to chalk out the details.”
An official at the construction site said: “The boundary wall would stretch over 8.5km. We have plans to construct the boundary wall within seven months. The wall would be 2.5-m long and 4.5-inch wide. There will be two 10-inch beams, one below and another above the wall. There shall also be a piling every two metres,” the official overseeing the construction work said. About 90 labourers are at present working at the site.
Nalanda sub-divisional officer Seema Tripathi said more labourers would start work by the end of January. “The work will pick up pace once the temperature rises a little. Work would continue even at night. Since the temperature is very low now, the labourers are working only during the day,” she said.
Though Sabharwal was non-committal when academic activities would begin at the proposed university, she was specific about the schools that would be built in the first phase. “A school of historical studies and another of environment and ecology would be the first two institutions to be built in the first phase of academic activities of the university. The nature and structure of the schools, including course structure, specialisation, methodology of faculty selection and constitution of an advisory committee, are being worked out at present. Moreover, the process of faculty selection would be undertaken simultaneously with building construction process. The aim is to make the faculty ready for the schools by the time the building construction work was finalised,” the vice-chancellor designate of Nalanda International University said.