Darjeeling Hills University has proposed to the state government that the varsity be temporarily relocated to the Presidency University campus in Kurseong.
The Bengal Assembly passed a bill on July 31, 2018, to set up DHU at Jogighat in Mungpoo, about 30km from here, but the process has not been smooth sailing.
In 2020, the state government forwarded three names to then Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankar for the appointment of a vice-chancellor to DHU. However, the governor decided to defy the “order of preference” of a search committee appointed by the state government.
This stalled the entire process till November 2021 after which the state government finally decided that the vice-chancellor of North Bengal University (NBU) would also look after DHU as additional charge and start functioning from the Mungpoo ITI building.
Last month, Prem Poddar was appointed the vice-chancellor of DHU.
Sources said Poddar noted that classes are only being held in online mode in this varsity and that there are constraints in undertaking other activities largely because of inadequate infrastructure at the ITI Mungpoo building.
The new vice-chancellor has suggested a proposal to the state government by writing a letter to the higher education minister, a source said.
“The infrastructure (almost complete) that has come up in Kurseong for a hill campus of Presidency University would be ideal for a temporary location of DHU for three years,” the source quoted Poddar in the letter to the minister.
It is learnt that even though a sum of Rs 32.26 crore had been sanctioned by the Bengal government in 2018 for the construction of varsity infrastructure, the only progress made so far has been an unfinished boundary wall as funds are scarce.
However, the infrastructure of the second campus of Presidency Campus is almost ready.
“The office at the Presidency campus has an administrative and academic building consisting of five floors. There are separate structures for staff quarters, a boys’ hostel and a girls’ hostel,” said a source.
The establishment of the campus was announcedby Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in 2015and a sum of Rs 74 crore had been sanctioned for this purpose.
“If the varsity functions from the Kurseong campus it would be of great help as even the students and staff would need a place to stay to attend classes,” said a source. No permanent teachers have been appointed at DHU and teachers from NBU and other colleges are taking classes.
As of now, postgraduate courses in English, political science, Nepali, history, mass communication and mathematics are available at the DHU.