NEW DELHI: A sprawling 100-acre permanent campus of the South Asian University (SAU) would come up on the outskirts of Delhi, the ground-breaking ceremony for which was held in the presence of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday.
In her speech, Swaraj reiterated India’s commitment to bearing the entire capital expenditure of `1,264.3 crore for the project.“The establishment of SAU is one of the most visible signs of transformation of Saarc from declaration to implementation,” she said.
The construction work, contracted to a Tata group firm, is expected to be completed in 36 months.
The university has been functioning for the last five years from a multi-storey building which was built for the 1982 Asian Games to serve as a hotel. The 100-acre plot was bought by the Ministry of External Affairs from the Delhi Development Authority. But ownership disputes delayed the work.The biggest hurdle, though, was in getting permission from the environment ministry to clear the dry scrub forest that covered almost every part of the land. “Finally, we had to promise to plant one sapling for every tree that would be uprooted for the project,” said a senior MEA official.