JORHAT, Sept 22 - The classes of the Centrally-funded upcoming national level design school of the north-eastern region, the National Institute of Design (NID), Jorhat are slated to begin next year at a campus of a private educational institute of the district on rent, as the required buildings and infrastructure for the institute could not be completed by the authorities in the last four years and seven months, since former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, laid its foundation stone on February 19, 2011.
The plan of starting the NID at a private campus on rent may be finalised after the inspection of a Delhi-based experts’ team to the institute’s campus here soon, said an officer of the district administration.
Though the construction of the boundary wall with masonry-beam and earth-filling works were completed in the institute’s proposed land area of 30.87 acres (around 100 bigha) at Tocklai Chah Bagicha Gaon with an estimated government expenditure of Rs 1,73,85,975.00 (one crore seventy three lakh eighty five thousand nine hundred seventy five rupees), neither any class room nor any office building was raised.
The entire protected area has been lying barren and the foundation stone is now engulfed by weeds and grass. Only a signboard gives any onlooker the idea that the Jorhat NID will come up at the site.
As the then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh laid the foundation stone of NID, Jorhat just a month and a half prior to the first phase of the State’s Assembly polls in 2011, and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi later assured of making the institute fully functional within a few years at the proposed site, it was expected that the entire construction works will be completed during the term of the UPA-II Government.
But the authority did not start construction works at the proposed location for the past three years for ‘unknown reasons’ causing frustration among the aspirants and the locals.
Asked about the reason of delay in construction, an official of the State administration said that differences of opinions at a ‘higher level’ regarding further construction at the proposed site emanated in recent years, ultimately delaying construction work of buildings at the fortified area in Tocklai Chah Bagicha Gaon.
On the condition of anonymity, another official said that some politicians, officers and businessmen with vested interests never desired that such a mega government institute of professional studies should function at that proposed location, as there will be a dent in their profits from their own private institutions of professional courses and other commercial establishments in the State.
This issue of delayed establishment of the NID, Jorhat campus, recently caught the attention of some senior officers of the State administration, Department of Industries and Commerce and many others concerned, after the Chief Secretary addressed the issue in a meeting in August this year.
Official documents stated that in the meeting in the second week of August this year, the Chief Secretary discussed the issue of delayed works of NID, Jorhat with his officers and took a decision to expedite the works.
But the recent proposal taken by the government officials revealed that the upcoming institute would start functioning from the campus of a private institute on rent instead of its fortified campus at Tocklai Chah Bagicha Gaon where the Government has already spent more than Rs 1.73 crore only for masonry beam construction.
An officer of the district administration said that a team of experts from Delhi has been invited to visit the proposed campus of the private institute soon, where the NID is planned to be started temporarily.
According to him, the team will examine whether the campus is suitable for the functioning of an institute like NID or not.
“If everything is approved by the authorised team, NID’s classes will begin from June ,2016,” he said. However, the officer refused to name the private institute which will be paid ‘several lakhs’ every month for providing classrooms and hostel facilities to the Central Government institute.