The expansion of the Kerala campus of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) seems to have shifted to the top gear. Launched in February, the AMU campus at Malappuram is one of the five remote centres of the university being created at the behest of the Sachar Commission Report.
Vice-Chancellor P. K. Abdul Azis told The Hindu-EducationPlus from Aligarh that classes with the first batch of AMU's five-year B.A. LL.B and two-year MBA Programmes commenced in Malappuram in a rented building provided by the Kerala government in February 2011. The classes for the second batch will commence in August.
“The university is grateful to the State government for providing 335 acres at Chelamala in Perinthalmanna, and the Union government for extending the seed money of Rs.75 crore for creating the infrastructure facilities required for the Departments of Law and Managements. Both these departments had started functioning with an intake of 60 students each. A miniature AMU is in the making with its credential of inclusiveness and secular approach. The present expansion of the university at the national level is first of its kind in its 144 year long history since 1867 when Sir Syed Ahmad Khan sowed its seed in Aligarh in the form of a school,” Prof. Azis said.
Elaborating on the construction activities initiated for the full-fledged campus of the AMU in Malappuram, the Vice-Chancellor said that the university has decided to construct a boundary wall around the campus stretching about 8.2 km aimed at securing the land and protecting it from future encroachment.
Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has undertaken the work expected to cost Rs.5 crore. Prof. Azis said that the university has prepared a roadmap to shift the activities of AMU centre from its rented buildings to its own campus at Chelamala by the end of November 2011.
“It is a two-phased initiative. Phase I envisages the construction of a full-fledged mini campus to house the Departments of Law, Management, administrative offices, hostels, staff quarters, and guesthouses using prefabrication construction technology. The university has awarded the work to CPWD and the cost estimate is Rs.13 crore. Since the construction will be taken up using prefabrication technology, the CPWD has promised the university to complete this project by the end of November. The university centre will shift to the Chelamala campus as soon as this is completed,” he said.
Prof. Azis said that phase II involves the construction of permanent buildings on the campus. The university has asked the CPWD to take up the construction of permanent, state-of-the-art greenfield buildings as permanent facilities for housing the Departments of Law and Managements, hostel for students, quarters for staff, buildings for administration and examinations and required common facilities like canteen and games and sports facilities.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who had convened a high-level meeting on June 28, assured all support for the development of the university. Prof. Azis said that the government has agreed to acquire 3.99 hectares of land for the construction of a 30-metre-wide road connecting the Cherukara State highway with the AMU campus.
The meeting resolved to approve the land value fixed by the committee concerned, complete the acquisition proceedings and handover the land expeditiously to the university. The Revenue Secretary was directed to submit a note to be placed before the State Cabinet for early clearance, he said. The government will provide the required quantity of water for the full-fledged AMU campus at an estimated cost of Rs.14 crore. Water requirements of the mini campus will be fulfilled by November 2011, when the pre-fabricated structures will be ready for occupation. Urgent power supply will be provided for the facility set up by the Kerala Water Authority to commence pumping of water to the campus.
Prof. Azis said that the government will provide the power required for the full-fledged AMU campus. On a priority basis, power supply will be made available to mini campus by November 2011, when the pre-fabricated structures will be ready for occupation. The KSEB was asked to submit the estimate for establishing 11 KVA sub-station by November 2011.
The government has also agreed to provide additional space required for three classrooms to start second year MBA and BA L.L.B. programmes before the end of July. Mr. Chandy also directed that the Department of Higher Education to provide the necessary funds to the departments concerned without any delay. If fund is not available, the Department of Higher Education may approach the Ministry for additional funds to be made available to the Departments of Electricity, Revenue, and Water.
Prof. Azis said that a vision plan to be implemented during 2011-2018 period with an estimate outlay of Rs.1,100 crore is pending before the Union government. The Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) of the Finance Ministry is expected to clear the proposal at an early date. A special proposal to start a Women's College, a Women's Polytechnic, and a College of Engineering is also under the consideration of the EFC, he said.
The vice-chancellor said that the support AMU had received from the Union government had made the idea of AMU centres across the nation a reality. By 2020, when AMU celebrates its centenary as a Central University, these centres will be full-fledged campuses with potential to become universities, Prof. Azis said.
The AMU Malappuram centre will have an engineering college, a polytechnic college, a medical college, an arts college, a science college, a hospitality management college, a pharmacy college, a law college, a Unani college, a nursing college, a management institute, and several other institutions similar to the Aligarh campus.
Prof. Azis said that the access to high quality higher education being created in the extremely backward minority concentration districts will pave the way for rapid development in these regions. AMU with its rich legacy and culture would incubate these centres as mini-universities, which could attain independent status of universities in 10-15 years, he said.
The vice-chancellor said that one of the important objectives of the university is to work for the educational and social advancement of the Muslims of India. The purpose of starting regional campuses is to address this issue in the context of the social and educational exclusion highlighted in the Sachar Committee Report submitted to the Union government.