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Extra hours put in to get varsity ready
- Makeshift campus of Nalanda University gets final touches for first academic session

Rajgir, July 23: The construction work at the Nalanda University’s makeshift campus is going on at war footing as the first academic session is set to start from September 1.

Barely a month in hand, the building construction department is working overtime under the supervision of the engineering wing of the university to make the classrooms and the lecture halls ready on the makeshift campus on the premises of a primary health centre and field research centre near the Rajgir bus stand. The temporary seat of education is equidistant from the designated university campus and the makeshift hostel at Tathagat Hotel — around 2.5km.

Spread over an area of 4 acres, the two-storeyed temporary academic-cum-administrative block of the university would have 14 rooms on the ground floor and 12 on the first. It would have two lecture halls — one on each floor.

Colonel M.K. Prasad, the university engineer of the upcoming Nalanda University, told The Telegraph: “Final touches are being given to the makeshift campus. At present, tiles and air-conditioners are being fitted in the two lecture halls with an area of approximately 1,200sqft.”

Almost a third of the 26 rooms on the makeshift campus would be used to conduct classes. There would be a staff room for faculty members. Administrative officials would have a separate room. Senior teachers and administrative officers would have separate cabins.

A source said the university administration and the state government had decided much in advance to develop the primary health centre as the makeshift campus of Nalanda University. But its renovation work gained momentum a couple of months back.

A senior university official attributed the delay in the renovation work of the makeshift campus to the model code effect because of the general election. The official, on condition of anonymity, said: “No new tenders could be floated when the model code of conduct was in effect. Hardly any work was done in that period.”

The model code of conduct for the recently held general election had come into effect on March 5 this year and remained applicable till May 16 when results were declared.

Colonel Prasad was still confident of finishing the renovation mark ahead of September 1 — the day the classes of School of Historical Studies and School of Ecology and Environmental Studies are scheduled to start. “We are almost on the last lap of renovation. If required, we shall work in two shifts to meet the deadline. The first academic session of the international university would start on schedule without any hiccups,” he said.

Gopa Sabharwal, the vice-chancellor of Nalanda University, said: “The university is ready to start its first academic session from September this year. The orientation programme would be conducted on August 27.”

The applicants interested in joining the university’s first-batch were shortlisted on July 22. They would be interviewed on Skype over the next three days.

Sabharwal said: “Offer letters would be sent to the selected candidates after the interview and the entire admission process would be completed by mid-August.”

The university received more than 900 applications for the 40 seats on offer in the first session — 20 each in School of Historical Studies and School of Ecology and Environmental Studies. Of them, 25 per cent were from abroad.

The School of Historical Studies is uniquely poised to study the histories of different Asian and non-Asian regions with students acquiring a broad knowledge on global history with specialisation in comparative or trans-regional history. The School of Ecology and Environmental Studies would focus on the study of nature with special emphasis on flora and fauna of a region.