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Study, health cradles plod on slo-mo track
- Bottlenecks in IIT, CUB & JPNAIIMS projects prevent relief to students and patients

Bottlenecks, more or less similar, in the path of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Central University of Bihar (CUB) and Jai Prakash Narayan All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS) in the state have affected students and patients alike.

All three top institutions, established by the Centre at the behest of the state government, have been non-starters. Except for JPNAIIMS, construction work on the two other projects is yet to start.

IIT Patna

The Centre’s attempt to bolster professional education institutes has come a cropper with the new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) hit by a shortage of faculty and forced to function from temporary campuses.

Established in 2008, IIT Patna at present functions from its transit campus at Patliputra Colony. It received 500 acres for its new campus at Bihta, around 45km from Patna, in April last year. But only the boundary wall is complete. Engineers have come across sand 60ft beneath the ground at Bihta and declared it unfit for constructing highrises.

Saryu Singh of Amhara village at Bihta, where IIT Patna is supposed to come up, said: “Sone used to flow through the area 250 years ago, which explains the presence of sand beneath the ground.” The Telegraph recently visited Amhara village and found that only the boundary wall was constructed.

The IIT-Patna has assigned the task of building its new campus to the central public works department (CPWD) and National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC). The first phase of construction has an end-2013 deadline. Sources said difficulties in operations on the transit campus prevented the institute from launching fresh courses. Moreover, the human resource department (HRD) had raised concern over the shortage of faculty, which is as high as 60 per cent in some IITs. Only 65 of the 90 sanctioned posts at IIT Patna are filled up.

IIT Patna director A.K. Bhowmick said: “We are working with 65 faculty members as against 90 sanctioned posts. We require teachers with good academic record and experience, making it difficult for us to make appointments.” But Bhowmick denied delay in construction, saying the boundary wall work was complete and piling work was on.

Central University of Bihar

The institute is yet to get a permanent address owing to the ongoing tussle over its location between the Centre and the state government.

The state government wants CUB to be set up in Motihari. The Union government is insisting on Gaya as it is well connected. Last month, chief minister Nitish Kumar and Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal held a closed-door meeting on the issue in New Delhi but they refused to divulge their stand to the reporters. Both had said they would need several rounds of discussions on the issue later.

CUB was established in 2009 along with 14 other central universities under an Act of Parliament. CUB vice-chancellor (VC) Janak Pandey said: “The university has no say in deciding the site but the Centre has some norms for deciding the location of central universities. Better road, rail, air connectivity, along with sound infrastructure facilities such as schools and colleges for children and hospitals, are some of the norms which need to be taken into consideration while deciding the site for any central university.”

CUB, despite functioning from its transit campus on BIT Patna campus, is on an expansion mode, announcing admission in masters-level courses from the next academic session, implying that the student intake capacity will rise from the existing 158 to 315. Sources said the university administration was optimistic of site finalisation in a few months.

JPNAIIMS

Following years of uncertainty, there is some good news on the healthcare front with construction work at Jai Prakash Narayan All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS) site finally taking off.

Though the foundation stone for the Rs 350-crore project (2004 estimate) was laid in 2004 during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure, the project was delayed owing to the power shift at the Centre.

The 100-acre health hub, coming up at Walmi village near Phulwarisharif, is expected to start operation by end-2012 after series of observations by Patna High Court. In April this year, the court constituted a three-member core committee comprising representatives from the Centre, the state and the AIIMS to speed up construction work of the super-specialty hospital.

Shashi Bhushan, the financial advisor to JPAIIMS, said: “The medical college is expected to start functioning from July this year for which appointment of professors is on.”


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