6 years on, Central varsity campus an unresolved issue

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
Even after 70 months of appointment of the first Vice-Chancellor of Himachal Pradesh Central University, the construction of the campus could not be started following the controversy over the selection of the site. The BJP MP from Hamirpur Anurag has put his foot down for locating the main campus at Dehra while the government is pressing the Centre to approve the site near Dharamsala.
Another team of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is likely to visit Kangra district to inspect the land identified by the state government near Dharamsala for locating the main campus.
Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani has reportedly talked to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, expressing some reservations about the terrain but Singh pointed out that flat lands were not available in the hills and invited her to visit the proposed site.
As per the requirements of the Centre, the state government has to provide 240 hectares after obtaining all clearances, including the forest clearances, and as per the revised proposal, the government has offered 156-66-29 hectares near Dharamsala and 81-79-16 hectares at Dehra.
As per the proposal, the main campus would be built near Dharamsala while 17 schools of studies with nearly 90 departments and 50 centres of study would come up at Dehra.
Both Dehra and Dharamsala fall in Kangra district but Dehra is at the extreme end and is part of Hamirpur constituency represented by BJP MP Anurag Thakur while Dharamsala is centrally located and falls in Kangra constituency represented by BJP leader and former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar.
Earlier, the previous BJP government had identified 397-97-97 hectares at Dehra and 62-54-21 hectares at Dharamsala and the proposal was referred to the Forest Advisory Committee (FCA) which noted that the requirement of forest land was large and also felt that many non-essential items had been included in the requirement of forest land on the pretext of “provision for future expansion”.
The committee recommended that the user agency should rationalise and minimise the forest land requirement and suggested to the MHRD to constitute a joint committee with representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Forests to formulate guidelines for the use of forest land and accordingly the state government was asked to send the fresh proposal.
Under the fresh proposal, no forest clearance is required and also there is ‘nil’ displacement of families. “The university is coming up in Kangra district and as such it should be centrally located with main campus near Dharamsala while some departments and study centres could be set up at Dehra”, Virbhadra Singh said.