The centre, with a budget of Rs136.82 crore, was inaugurated in January 2014. The first instalment of Rs10 crore was released by the Manmohan Singh govt. After change of govt at the Centre no fund has been released despite several reminders and agitations at different levels
Sami Ahmad | Clarion India
PATNA — Around four hundred kilometres north-east of Patna, capital of the Indian state of Bihar, AMU-K or the Kishanganj Centre of Aligarh Muslim University is waiting for Rs 125 crore to be released by the Central government. The first instalment of Rs 10 crore of the allocated fund of Rs 136.82 crore was released seven years back. Since then the centre has got nothing.
Now to get the remaining fund people of the region have launched an online signature campaign accompanied by an offline petition. The man behind the campaign is Congress Party leader Dr. Mohammad Jawed Azad who represents Kishanganj in the Lok Sabha.
The campaign, launched through Change.org, has so far obtained over 10,000 signatures. Dr Jawed has also raised this issue in the Lok Sabha, sat on dharna in front of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in the premises of Parliament and handed a letter to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The AMU’s Kishanganj Centre was inaugurated in January 2014 with an allotted land of 224 acres at Chakla along the banks of river Mahananda, a tributary of Ganga. But no construction could take place because of the objections of National Green Tribunal which has referred the matter to the National Mission for Clean Ganga. As a result, the Centre is running from just two buildings at Millat Chowk in Kishanganj.
In 2014, the Manmohan Singh government allotted Rs 136.82 crores for this Centre and released the first instalment of Rs 10 crores. Soon after, a new government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over. Since then no fund has been released despite several reminders and agitations at different levels.
Dr. Jawed says that AMU-K is very important for the progress of four districts of Seemanchal – Kishanganj, Katihar, Purnea and Araria. The adjoining part of West Bengal will also benefit from it. While Dr Jawed represents around 30 lakh people of Kishanganj, the total population of the entire Seemanchal districts is around one crore.
Akhtarul Iman, chief of Bihar unit of the All India Majlis Ittihadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), too has been raising this issue with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He has requested him to discuss this issue with the Prime Minister as his JD(U) is an ally of Modi’s BJP
Talking to Clarion India, Akhtarul Iman said that he has reminded the chief minister as to how important AMU-K is for the Seemanchal area and how it would help Bihar’s educational atmosphere. He congratulated Dr Jawed, though a political opponent, for his endeavours and hoped that his Congress party would raise this issue in both the houses of Parliament. He also said that the previous Manmohan Singh government should have released more funds when the project was launched. Had this been the case, AMU-K would have been in a better position.
Along with AMU-K two more such centres were launched on the recommendations of Sachchar Committee – one at Mallapuram in Kerala and the other at Murshidabad in West Bengal. Both are in a much-advanced stage, whereas AMU-K is still struggling to get its own campus. This centre can cater to around 25,000 students in this predominantly Muslim but educationally backward area. The literacy rate in Kishanganj is around 57 per cent against Bihar’s average rate of around 64% and India’s 74%.
The AMU-K was started with two residential courses: one-year B.Ed. and Two-year MBA degree. The B.Ed. course has stopped as the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) didn’t extend the recognition in 2019. As the matter is now in Patna High Court, the guest teachers meant for B.Ed. course have been relived. Thus, this centre is left with just one course of MBA which has around 70 students. There are around 16 teaching and non-teaching staff at the centre.
AMU-K’s centre director Dr Hasan Imam says that the non-extension of recognition of the B.Ed. course is the result of misunderstanding by NCTE. According to him, NCTE objected to a proposal of extending the number of admissions which, in fact, was not demanded. “We had applied for extension of the B.Ed. course but NCTE declined it on other ground. We are fighting it in the Patna High Court.’
The case of AMU-K’s 224-acre land was taken at the Eastern Zone Bench at Kolkata of the National Green Tribunal on environmental grounds which transferred to the National Mission for Clean Ganga. At NMCG the hearing was delayed due to Covid-19. This issue was raised in the Parliament but to no avail. Dr. Jawed has written a letter to the director general of NMCG in this regard.
Dr. Hassan admits that the centre’s biggest problem is non-clearance of land. He thinks that the fight to get the fund will be a bit easier after the land is allotted.
Lack of a proper building is hampering the centre’s academic progress. He says that a new course of five-year BALLB is in the pipeline. The centre has also proposed to increase the staff strength to 21 teachers and 20 non-teaching employees.
Last year this centre conducted entrance tests for various courses of AMU. A total of 1,400 students took the tests for which they would have gone to either Aligarh or Patna. Dr Hassan says a 100-bed girls hostel is under construction at the centre.