Shimla/ March 19
The issue of permissions granted to large number of private Universities to set up campuses in Himachal and the large chunk of land purchased by rules the Himachal assembly during the question hour .Congress members raised issue of the approval and recognition of these universities by the University Grant Commission. Former Education Minister and Congress MLA Asha Kumari (Congress), asked that whether the degrees being given by these Universities were recognised or mere “piece of paper”.
She also wanted to know the parameters for giving permissions to private universities to purchase large chunks of land for developing the campuses in relaxation of section 118 of HP tenancy and Land reforms Act. She also raised doubts that why the land in excess was purchased by some university.
Replying to the question, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said 15 private universities were allowed to open campuses during the BJP regime from Jan 1, 2008 to Dec 31, 2012 and only six out of these Universities have been inspected by the University Grants Commission (UGC).“We have not received any ‘inspection report’ from the UGC regarding these Universities,”he added.
.“When 50 bigha (one bigha is 0.4 hectare) would have been sufficient for developing the campus, why some Universities were allowed to purchase 600 Bighas of land”, Asha Kumari asked and said that how these Universities were retaining the excess land and not utilising the land for the purpose fior which it was ostensibly bought.
The chief minister said 10 out of the 15 varsities were allowed to buy the 1,685 bigha of land from private parties land from private parties.
Replying to a question of Randhir Sharma (BJP), the Forest Minister assured that the government would soon issue notification, denotifying and excluding 793 villages falling in sanctuary areas, including 49 villages under the Sri Nainadevi sanctuary. He said that state government would also consider the lifting of ban for extracting of Katha from Khair tree used widely for manufacturing industrial products in this area.