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Fresh nudge to Motihari CUB plan

Motihari, May 30: East Champaran residents are excited over Union HRD minister Smriti Iraniís decision to expedite the process of setting up of a central university in Motihari.

Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh, who is also the East Champaran MP, said the issue of the central university was raised before Irani, who readily agreed to expedite the process of setting it up and rename it after Mahatma Gandhi. ďA fresh bill regarding change of the Central University of Biharís name in the coming session of Parliament would be tabled and the entire technical complexities in way of setting up of the institution in the name of Mahatma Gandhi at Motihari would automatically come to an end,Ē Radha Mohan Singh told The Telegraph over phone on Friday.

HRD ministry sources, too, said the ministry was planning to pass the bill in the next session of Parliament even though it has been pending since the past one year.

The decision in this regard was taken during the UPA II government itself but could not be implemented owing to non-passage of amendment bill for setting up the university. Agreeing to the demand of former chief minister Nitish Kumar, the UPA II government had agreed to give two central universities to the state. However, the inclusion of Motihari was to be carried out through an amendment in the Central Universities Act.

Nitish had announced setting up of the varsity during re-opening of the Motihari Engineering College on November 20, 2008. Subsequently, all formalities were completed by the district administration in the following few months and proposals for three different sites around the city were sent to the state government.

On November 6, 2009, a team of the human resource development (HRD) ministry visited Motihari to inspect three sites in and around Motihari, which had been earlier proposed by the district administration. The team was led by the then joint secretary of the HRD ministry, Sunil Kumar. Owing to inordinate delay, residents formed an agitation forum under the name of Kendriya Vishwavidyalaya Sangharsh Morcha in July 2010 to voice their demands through dharnas held from time to time. Under the leadership of Radha Mohan Singh, around 26 MPs from Bihar demonstrated at Jantar Mantar on April 21, 2012. In August the same year, the cabinet gave its nod to set up a CUB .

However, the Union cabinetís decision to set up two different universities, at Gaya and Motihari, proved to be a reason for dispute. Owing to protests by residents as well pursuance by Radha Mohan Singh, the matter was referred to a monitoring committee by the Union HRD ministry.

The original Central Universities Act, 2009, provided for setting up of 16 central universities, one each in 16 states including Bihar. The Central University of Bihar (CUB) accordingly started functioning from a temporary campus in Patna since 2009. However, the location for a permanent campus could not be sorted out, as then HRD minister Kapil Sibal wanted it to come up in Gaya, while Nitish wanted it to be set up at Motihari. This led to the decision of setting up of two universities, one in Gaya and one in Motihari.

The CUB, which has been functioning in a temporary campus in Patna, would be shifted to Gaya after the permanent campus is constructed. It will come up over 300 acres, which has been obtained from the defence ministry.