Nalanda varsity governing board members visit sites


Nalanda International University's governing board members on Thursday inspected the site for the proposed varsity at Nalanda and Rajgir and appreciated the initial work on the 467 acres of land given by the Bihar government for the ambitious project. Board chairman Amartya Sen, however, did not go for inspection and stayed back here.

"Only those members who had not been to the site earlier inspected the place," board member N K Singh told TOI before catching a Delhi flight.

The members, including former Singapore foreign minister George Yeo and university's vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal, went around the site and also inspected the subdivisional office and Convention centre at Rajgir which the state government has designated as temporary campus and university's office.

The state government has committed to do fencing of the acquired land and the work has reportedly been allotted to Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam, which is expected to start the work soon. Its officials, including the chairman, also met the governing board here and assured that the work would be completed on time.

The prolonged meeting of the board, held here on Wednesday, is believed to have discussed the design and architecture of the campus, university building, residential quarters and offices. Amartya Sen declared that global tender would be floated and the design and architecture of the university would be of international standard, which would reflect the image of the old university that existed centuries ago.

"We are looking for an appropriate architectural design so that people do not say that the old varsity was so great and the new one is not," Sen said amid laughter. It is expected that architectural designing and construction companies from different parts of the world would bid for the prestigious project.

In Nalanda, the visiting dignitaries also held talks with the DM at the circuit house and asked the administration to ensure that local issues were taken care of and solved at the local level itself.

Sen and the varsity's first visitor APJ Abdul Kalam had earlier inspected the site. The state government has offered to provide alternative accommodation for academic activities till the university's buildings come up. The old subdivisional office, which has been renovated, and the Convention centre have been identified as alternative places so that the academic session could be started possibly from 2013-14. Gopa Sabharwal said the academic activities would start with just two streams: school of historical studies and environment and ecology studies.

Sen said they discussed the faculties to start with as well as pattern of teaching and structure of teaching pattern. The proposed university will have wide range of courses including Buddha studies, international relations, peace studies and information sciences and technology.

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