COIMBATORE: Two years after laying the foundation for the Central University of Tamil Nadu (CUT) in then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s native Thiruvarur district, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal is wondering if it was an irrational decision.
In a letter dated March 9 to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is unhappy with the HRD Ministry’s move to locate the Central University of Bihar in Gaya district, Sibal has conceded that the CUT is bogged down by disadvantages due to its location.
“The difficulties being faced by some of the Central Universities, most notably Tamil Nadu, Odisha and Karnataka in attracting quality faculty, due to the disadvantage of their location, have been discussed numerous times even receiving adverse comment in the media,” the HRD minister has said in the letter.
“The Ministry of HRD had in the initial stage agreed for the establishment of the Central Universities in locations offered by the state government.
However, there has been severe disquiet in the academic community on the selection of sites in certain locations,” he observed.
It is well known in political circles that the DMK government had chosen Thiruvarur for the Central University since the party patriarch Karunanidhi was born in Thirukuvalai village in the then composite Thanjavur district. Presently, Thirukuvalai falls under Thiruvarur district, which was carved out of Thanjavur and Nagapattinam districts during the DMK regime in 1997.
Pointing out that Central Universities were intended to be exemplars of the highest quality education and pace-setters fostering a culture of quality teaching, learning and research, Sibal has told Nitish Kumar that the choice of Gaya is most appropriate for the Central University of Bihar.
“A conscious decision was taken to identify the most appropriate site for the Central University so that it does not start with a disadvantage [read unlike the CUT] in attaining its lofty aims,” the Minister explained. The Bihar Chief Minister, had in an earlier letter, accused Sibal of adopting different yardsticks in deciding the location of the Central Universities for Bihar and States of Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.