When will KU’s Kupwara campus become functional?

For the past eight years the authorities have failed to complete construction of the satellite campus, despite availability of funds
When will KU’s Kupwara campus become functional?

In 2008, the Kashmir University (KU) announced to set up asatellite campus in Kupwara district to make higher education easily accessibleto students of the border district in north Kashmir. But a decade on, thecampus is yet to see the light of the day. An official said that more than 500kanals of land were acquired for construction of the campus. But, according tothe official, the construction on the satellite campus is going on for the pasteight years. Once completed the campus will be second such facility in northKashmir after the varsity administration made Delina satellite campusoperational in 2009. Last year, the administration had claimed that thephysical examination of the campus infrastructure and other facilities will becarried out by a team of officials and a report will be submitted to the higherauthorities to make it operational. However a year has passed but theadministration is yet to make any progress towards making the campusoperational. The university council has already approved two programs for thecampus which include Physics and Energy Studies. "Earlier it was decided tointroduce specialised program of nanotechnology but the decision was latershelved owing to inadequate infrastructure and facilities for such aspecialised program," the KU official said. Besides taking the higher educationto the doorsteps in this district, making Kupwara campus operational would haveopened up job opportunities for educated unemployed youth. There are aroundfive degree colleges in Kupwara district with each college having enrolment ofover 1000 to 1500 students. "All these students don't get accommodated in theavailable intake capacity at main campus of KU at Hazratbal and other satellitecampuses. Due to this reason most of the students are forced to move outsideJ&K state to pursue higher education," said Sameer Ahmad, an under graduatestudent from Handwara. An official said the construction on the campus hit aroadblock owing to "some issues" between the executing agency and the varsity administration.

As of now, KU has four satellite campuses at Delina inBaramulla, Anantnag, Leh and Kargil which are functional from past many years.However, the KU administration has failed to make these campuses vibrant overthe years owing to its failure in improving the infrastructure facilities andintroducing new courses. Take the example of Delina campus. Neither has thevarsity introduced any new courses at the campus nor has it increased theintake capacity there. "Over the years, the university administration has onlyincreased the fee structure for the students. But it has failed to offeradmission in new courses to the students," a KU official said. Another officialsaid that the internal politics in the varsity was taking toll on the functioningof these campuses. "People with vested interests always try to sabotage anymajor plans which are devised for betterment of the campus and the students,"the official said. The fate of the Kargil campus is also hanging in balanceafter the state government took a controversial decision of handing over Kargilcampus to the higher education department to run cluster university of Leh.People in Kargil have expressed apprehensions that the move will become areason to close down the varsity's satellite campus in the district. On theother hand, the Leh campus of KU has failed to attract the students foradmission in different PG courses. The KU has posted around 10 teaching facultymembers at the campus besides non-teaching staff but the students' enrolment hasnot seen substantial increase over the years. The official said the Leh campushas also become victim of internal politics in the varsity which resulted inthe downfall of the enrolment at the campus. "Yes, the enrolment was very lessin the campus for the past years but this year it has increased to more than70. We are expecting further improvement in it during the next admissionsession," director admissions in KU, Prof Irshad Nawchoo said. RegistrarKashmir University, Nisar Ahamd Mir said the construction work was "almostcomplete" on Kupwara campus and the administration has decided to start theadmission from next academic session (November 2019).

"We have decided to start three integrated courses for thestudents in the campus. There are some issues with forest department regardingthe approach road for the campus. But all such issues will be resolved verysoon," Mir said. About the Delina and Anantnag campus, he said the varsity hasdecided to establish one centre of excellence each at both these campuses andbuild new infrastructure as well. "There were some financial issues owing towhich no developments were witnessed in these campuses but now the financialissues are expected to be resolved soon," he said.

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