The National Institute of Technology (NIT), Uttarakhand, which has been functioning temporarily out of the campus of Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Srinagar, has been requesting for a safer location for its permanent campus since last year, after a landslide led to the collapse of a part of the boundary at the allotted 300 acres of land in Sumari Garhwal, Srinagar. Delay in allotment of an alternative space is causing hindrance to the institute’s expansion plans.

The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) has been writing to the Uttarakhand government since June 2016 to provide an alternative piece of land to NIT, Uttarakhand, to construct its permanent campus at a safer location, than the existing allotted 300 acres of land in Sumari Garhwal, as it is prone to earthquake, landslides and cloudbursts. The Sunday Guardian has the copy of the two letters that have been written so far.

In its letter dated 28 June 2016, former HRD Minister Smriti Irani took cognisance of a report filed by the board of governors of NIT, Uttarakhand, which noted the geographical hazards at the allotted 300 acres and wrote to then Congress’ Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Harish Rawat, stating: “The safety of the campus would be a major concern, if the permanent campus is built on the allotted 300 acres in Sumari Garhwal, Srinagar.”

The letter noted the concern shown by the board of governors after a portion of the fencing at the boundary of the campus collapsed due to landslide. However, no action took place on the ground, with sources privy to the matter saying that the state government continued to sit on the file. The matter has been delayed even after the MHRD made the relevance of NIT, Uttarakhand, clear. The letter said, “The state of Uttarakhand is a major beneficiary of NIT, Uttarakhand, as 50% of students of NIT belong to Uttarakhand.”

A second letter was sent again to Harish Rawat by the incumbent HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on 26 Oct 2016, requesting him to provide “an alternative place having good civic infrastructure for the permanent campus of NIT. The ministry is yet to receive any proposal for alternative site for the permanent campus of the concerned NIT.”

However, speaking to The Sunday Guardian, highly placed sources in the new BJP government in Uttarakhand led by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, assured quick action.

A source privy to the matter said, “We are soon going to send a report to the MHRD in which we will send a list of alternative locations in Dehradun or Haridwar for the new permanent campus of NIT, Uttarakhand.”

“Allotting land in hilly areas is not as simple as it is in the plains. We have to take note of a number of geographical factors. Finding an open and plain piece of land can be challenging, which is why it has taken time,” the source said.

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