NEW DELHI: As part of its bid to speed up regional development in Jammu & Kashmir, the Centre is pushing through the proposal to set up a "central university of Jammu & Kashmir" which will be located at Jammu. The proposal may be put up to the Cabinet on Monday itself.
The need to move the proposal arose after an earlier university for Jammu announced during Congress veteran Arjun Singh’s stewardship of the human resource development ministry ran into controversy. The university office was initially located at Srinagar and later faced local resistance over being moved to Jammu in keeping with the original plan.
The decision to place the current proposal before the Union Cabinet was taken late this week and briefs were being urgently prepared as most of the government prepared to shut down for the Diwali weekend. The reason for the urgency was felt to be part of the Centre’s review of projects in J&K held last week in Srinagar.
The regional aspect of J&K politics flared up when the original plan ran into trouble. The vice-chancellor for the proposed university had been appointed by the previous HRD minister even before land was identified at Jammu for the institution. This meant that the office allotted in Srinagar was meant to be temporary.
Valley groups then protested the move to correctly locate the university and set up a piquant situation where the imbalance with regard to Jammu was only enhanced. The Centre hopes to undo part of the damage by sanctioning yet another university for Jammu as the previous plan has been enmeshed in politics.
Now, in order to please both regions, the Centre decided to sanction two universities — one to remain located in the Valley and a new one in Jammu. At the review of projects, both central and state, held by cabinet secretary K M Chandrashekhar and an interaction of senior ministers that followed, it was felt that there is a "thirst" for development.