Taking a U-turn, state education minister P.K. Shahi on Wednesday denied having said the Central University of Bihar (CUB) might have twin campuses — one in Gaya and another in Motihari.
A day after Shahi was quoted as saying in New Delhi that there would be two CUB campuses, he told The Telegraph: “Chief minister Nitish Kumar and Union human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal are handling the issue. I am neither supposed to speak on it and I have not spoken on it.”
Sources said Shahi was “ticked off” by Nitish for jumping the gun on the sensitive issue.
Nitish and Sibal had personally discussed the issue in New Delhi last month but they had refused to divulge their stand to the reporters. Both had said they would have several rounds of discussion on the issue later.
The sources revealed that the Bihar government and the Union HRD ministry were yet to exchange official communication on the issue after the Nitish-Sibal meeting. Nitish did not want his minister to speak before “things reached the official-level”.
The CUB, vice-chancellor, Janak Pandey said: “I don’t know anything about the issue as the university administration has not received any information from the ministry of HRD yet.”
With Shahi backtracking from his earlier statement, the fate of the CUB is back to square one. More than three years after its inception, the varsity site issue is yet to be resolved.
Though Shahi backtracked on the twin campus issue, former chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Wednesday said Central University of Bihar should be set up in both Gaya and Motihari. The RJD chief told reporters: “Both Gaya and Motihari should have separate universities and not just campus so that there is exclusive growth of both the regions.”
Lalu said he had a telephonic conversation with Sibal on Wednesday after he read about twin campuses of the CUB in dailies.
“Sibal assured me that he will think over the issue of setting up twin full-fledged Central University in Bihar,” said Lalu, announcing that he would undertake a padyatra (walk) from Motihari to Gaya demanding full-fledged university at both the places.
The RJD chief also demanded central university status to Patna University (PU), the seventh oldest university of country. Lalu’s demand for granting central university status to PU assumes importance as the varsity has a plan to send a fresh proposal to the Union HRD ministry, requesting Sibal to accord the central status to PU.
Lalu is an alumnus of PU.