[ Taba Ajum ]
First they went for the NERIST, then RGU, then the greenfield airport project – and now the NIT. Some groups of people in the garb of being ‘project or land affected’ are bent on destroying the premier educational institutes of the state like RGU, the NERIST, and the NIT.
To a certain extent, these locals, being the land donors, have the right to get job opportunities and contract works at the projects/institutes; however, over the years, some of them have started treating these institutes as their personal properties, and keep laying claim on every project that comes to these educational institutes.
Unfortunately, even if they are awarded contracts, they never ensure quality work, because of which institutes like RGU and the NERIST are suffering.
The infrastructure of the state’s lone central university, Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), is in a shambles. Though it was established way back in the year 1984, the infrastructure of the university is in a pathetic condition. Compared to it, Tezpur University (TU) in Assam, which was established in the year 1994, has world-class infrastructure. In fact, TU is now counted among the top five universities of the country in terms of infrastructure and research work.
The local contractors have damaged the future of RGU with their shabby works. Whenever any vice chancellor (VC) tries to bring in changes and supports floating global tender, the locals make the person’s life miserable. This attitude is causing immense harm to the university. RGU is now functioning without a regular VC, and if reports are to be believed, no one from outside the state is interested in the post because of the hostile atmosphere created by the so-called land donors.
The situation is the same in the NERIST, where a few local contractors in connivance with certain local employees of the institute are destroying the sanctity of Arunachal’s premier technical institute.
There was much hope for the NIT, but sadly, things there are going exactly the way they went for RGU and the NERIST. The newly-appointed director of the institute recently resigned under controversial circumstances.
The story of the greenfield airport project is more catastrophic. The project first got tangled in controversy following the decision of the civil aviation ministry to shift the site of the airport from Karsingsa to Hollongi. It was alleged that a few politicians pursuing personal motives had the project shifted to Hollongi to pocket the compensation money. However, the Airports Authority of India and the civil aviation ministry have always maintained that it was done due to ‘technical reasons’. In this instance, too, a bunch of greedy people filed cases after cases at the high court, which has effectively stalled the greenfield airport project.
Even as the capital region awaits the establishment of the greenfield airport, a friend from eastern Arunachal jokingly taunted me with an SMS, “We are going to have two airports in Pasighat and Tezu. The college of horticulture at Pasighat is now the best college in whole India. Your people are killing premier institutes like RGU, NERIST and now NIT. It looks like they have to be shifted to the eastern region.”
Initially the words were hurtful, but later I realized that they made sense. The time for introspection is over. The time has arrived for right thinking citizens of the capital region to come out and take a strong stand on issues concerning the state. Can we allow a bunch of greedy people to destroy the image of the whole capital region to realize their selfish purposes? The answer should be a big no.