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Ganderbal Site: Central University unimpressed with soil reports

Srinagar, Feb 11: The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) had done a ‘defective’ soil testing of the land proposed for the Central University of Kashmir in Ganderbal district, officials said.

Education Minister, Altaf Bukhari on Friday said that the campus would have to be shifted to an alternate site as the land where the university campus was presently being built was “marshy”.

 

The CPWD had done the soil testing of the site “while sitting at home” and “had not perhaps gone to the spot actually” some “two and a half years ago”, Vice Chancellor CUK, Prof Meraj-ud-Din told The Kashmir Monitor.

“They (CPWD) had done a defective soil testing. When we sent our own team of experts to the spot, they found that the land was hollow from beneath. The team recommended that we would have to lay the foundation 20 metres deep into the ground,” Prof Meraj said.

After finding the land defective, Prof Meraj said, “We reported it to every stakeholder.”

Besides the defective soil testing, the CPWD, the VC said, also demanded almost three times the estimated cost for building the compound wall of the campus.

“The CPWD was given Rs 9 crore to complete the wall, but after completing just 10 percent of the work, they came up with a revised cost of Rs 26 crore to complete the wall,” Prof Meraj said.

The VC said that the CPWD officials told them that “there was an issue with the land” when the CUK asked about the cost escalation.

Even the part of the compound wall, which the CPWD had completed “had tilted when we sent our team to the spot, which alerted us” added the VC CUK.

Till an alternate land is identified by the government, Prof Meraj said that they were shifting “6-8 departments” to the Ganderbal campus by March provided the required buildings are completed.

“We cannot stop our growth. As on date, we have 17 departments, 9 schools and 35 programmes for an enrolment of around 2,500 students,” said the VC.

The VC said that “30-35” crore rupees had already been spent on the Ganderbal campus.

Even as the government was proposing to shift the CUK campus from Ganderbal, “We are going to utilize the building. That would not be abandoned. Some of our departments can function from there,” the VC said.

“To make it relevant, we are investing more on it. We are not leaving it halfway,” he added.

At the Ganderbal campus however, the VC said that the expansion of the university was “difficult”.

“It is very difficult to build large libraries and auditoriums”.

The VC said that the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) had been “specifically objecting to the foundation cost of the.”

“Normal foundation cost of universities is 12-15 percent, but the foundation cost of the CUK is estimated to be 40-45 percent of the total cost.”

“Otherwise the state and the central governments have been very liberal in terms of grants,” the VC added.