Govt order on establishment of new colleges likely to be kept in abeyance

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, July 14: Previous PDP-BJP Government’s significant order sanctioning 14 new degree colleges in Jammu Kashmir  and making them functional from the current session is likely to be kept in abeyance by the Governor’s administration as no concurrence was claimed to be sought from the Finance and Planning Departments before Cabinet approval for establishment of these institutions of higher learning.
Highly placed authoritative sources told the Excelsior that a decision in this regard has been taken and a formal order to keep in abeyance earlier orders of the Higher Education Department on sanctioning permanent establishment of 14 new Government Degree Colleges in Jammu Kashmir, is likely to be issued in next few days.
Decision in this regard has been taken in view of  a number of queries raised by the  State Finance Department in respect of sanctioning of  these colleges and the staff to be engaged for making them operational from the session 2018-19, sources added.
Even as the Department of Higher Education had accorded sanction for permanent establishment of these new degree colleges in April this year following Cabinet decision number  203/12/2017, dated 23-10-2017, sources claimed that no proper concurrence was  obtained for the same from the Departments of Finance and  Planning.
These Government Degree Colleges, seven each in Jammu and Kashmir provinces, were sanctioned to fill the accessibility gap in the areas where students have to walk dozens of kilometers to attend the classes. In Jammu Province, these colleges were sanctioned to be opened at Chenani, Mongri, Vijaypur, Dongi, Ramkot and  Dud-Basantgarh vide Government order number 215-HE of 2018, dated 11-04-2018 with a direction to make them functional in make-shift accommodation from academic session 2018-19. A separate order was issued for establishing new college in Paddar also.
Another similar order was issued for establishing seven colleges  in Kashmir valley at   Kralpora in Kupwara, Langate, Thindim Kreeri, Zainapora, Wachi, Frisal Home Shalibugh, Chadoora and Vilgam in Handwara.
Earlier, the State Cabinet had purportedly approved the opening of 17 degree colleges in Jammu & Kashmir besides 140 posts, 70 teaching and 70 non-teaching, for the each college. An amount of Rs 15 crore was also  claimed to be approved for construction of each college besides the approval of annual recurring grants to the tune of Rs 1 crore as salary component.
However, despite a clear cut order, the Department of Higher Education failed to make any of these colleges functional from the current session with the result that a number of class 12th pass- out kept waiting for commencement of the admissions and  thus spoiled an academic year of their career.
While  Director Colleges, Zahoor Chatt claimed that these newly sanctioned colleges have not yet become functional because no suitable temporary accommodation could be selected,  Commissioner/ Secretary Higher Education, Sarita Chouhan made it clear that these colleges are not going to be made functional from the current session owing to the queries of Finance Department.
“Getting no suitable temporary accommodation can  also be another reason but the main issue is non-concurrence of Finance and Planning Departments, which have forwarded a number of queries with regard to establishment of these new colleges,” she said and added that till these doubts were  cleared, the colleges could not be made functional.
Sources said that  the issue came up for discussion during a high level meeting of the Higher Education Department,  chaired by the Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam, who initially favoured cancellation  of the Government order on sanctioning new colleges. However, sources added, after detailed discussion, it was agreed to keep the said order of Higher Education Department in abeyance with an approval for the same from Advisor to the Governor.
“A detailed note recommending that  Higher Education Department’s  order on establishment of new colleges should  be kept in abeyance besides explaining reasons for the same,  is likely to be forwarded to the Advisor who may discuss the matter with Governor N N Vohra for his final nod,” sources said.