TODAY -

Centre's push for expediting NSU project commendable
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: May 05, 2022 -



IT'S disheartening that dispute over land ownership, fierce objections against use of prime cultivable land for non-agricultural purposes and contestations over naming of the new site had been delaying structural development of the National Sports University, in-spite of the Union government consistently assuring that fund allocation wouldn't be an issue.

Starting with dispute over rate of compensation to be paid to the land owners affected by the NSU project, which was initially planned at Yaithibi Loukon in Thoubal district to civil societies and student organisations decrying official processes to conduct interview for recruiting varsity faculties and setting up of outlying campuses in Uttar Pradesh to the unrest over naming the site as Koutruk or Haraothel, all these years the NSU has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

While efforts are being made to resolve all outstanding problems besieging the national project, gifted to Manipur in commendation of the state sportspersons' excellent performance at the national and international level of competitions, it's an undeniable fact that the varsity could have made significant progress had the new site, which the government specified is at Koutruk village, evoked no opposition from the neighbouring villages.

Regardless of the uneasy calm prevalent at the moment subsequent to the government's assurance of taking into confidence the parties in dispute vis-a-vis official address of the varsity, there has been no significant breakthrough made.

The existing stalemate means that the claim and counter claim among the three major communities would resurface anytime as was evident from some community-centric organisations resorting to agitations to pressurise the government.

To these parochial organisations, staking claim over land is of paramount interest rather than acknowledging that none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared NSU as centre's gift to the Manipuri sportspersons and assured adequate fund provisions in his first budget speech in 2014 to provide world class sports training and academic facilities in the state.

After over eight years, the said varsity still mired in land or site naming controversy underscores that resolving the conflicts among the Meetei, Kuki and Naga villages wouldn't be an easy task.

The disagreement amongst these villages even led to apprehension among the public that the university would be relocated to some other states.

However, sensing that any decision to take away the university from the state might create serious socio-political turmoil, union ministers, who visit Manipur, have been assuring that there will be change of plan.

Amid the controversies centring on establishment of the NSU in the state, the then Union youth affairs and sports minister Kiren Rijiju personally oversaw preparation for infrastructure development of the national project in 2019 thereby ringing out the message that the Union government is firm in making the university functional at its designated location.

With Union minister of Culture, Tourism and DoNER G Kishan Reddy too declaring on Monday that the centre is committed to ensure completion of structural components of the NSU at the earliest possible time, it is suggested that the state government expedite all the processes for materialisation of the dream project as any inordinate delay in settling the disputes will be akin to dishonouring the resilient Manipuri sportspersons.



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