IMPHAL, February 24: The State government was not involved in the selection of the site at Yaithibi Loukon for construction of the National Sports University, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh told the House today.
The Chief Minister was replying to a matter of public interest discussion raised by BJP MLA Th Biswajit regarding the delay in the setting up of the sports university in the State.
The MLA sought clarification on the selection of the site at a patta land which has only resulted in delaying of the Central project.
Citing that owing to the delay, setting up of the university could be shifted to another State, he raised as to why the site was selected at Yaithibi Loukon and not at Senjam, Chirang or Koutruk where people are willing to donate more than 800 acres of land.
In his answer, the Chief Minister said soon after the Narendra Modi led NDA came to power in the Centre in August 2014, the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced establishment of a National Sports University in Manipur with a sanctioned amount of Rs 100 crores.
He said just two days after the announcement a team of the Union Sports Secretary visited the State for site selection. The team along with the concerned DCs conducted the site selection process, he said.
The Chief Minister also said we have heard a huge amount has been earmarked for the construction of the university; however, till date no single money has reached the State government despite the land being already allotted to the Centre.
All the more important is for the Parliament to pass an Act for the establishment of the National Sports University which is yet to be done, the Chief Minister told the House.
He continued the State government has already submitted a written letter to the Union Finance Minister and Sports Minister requesting to table the Act during the ongoing Parliament session and to pass it.
Ibobi also informed that classes of the university will commenced at its temporary place at Khuman Lampak.
Meanwhile, stressing on the site selection process, the Chief Minister informed the House that the team led by the Union Sports Secretary had viewed three-four sites including at Yaithibi Loukon, Kakching Lamkhai and Usoipokpi Loukon, but unfortunately left Senjam, Chirang and Koutruk areas.
The State government has no issues or problems with the setting up of the university anywhere in the State, the Chief Minister said observing that the State government had pursued a site measuring 500 acres at Moirang near Sendra Takmu Sports complex which was acquired during the tenure of Heingang MLA N Biren as the Youth and Sports Minister at an amount of Rs 7 crores.
But the Central team dismissed the area citing that construction of the foundation of the university structures alone will consume a huge amount of fund, he said.
Ibobi also said that the university needs only 200 to 250 acres of land; however the site allotted at Yaithibi Loukon is 336.96 acres.
He said the State government has already handed over the land to the Centre and a Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the two during the handing over of the site.
In the MoU, the State government had included certain points which included during the acquisition of the land, the State government had to face certain problems in order to meet the norms of the Central sponsored projects and that if construction of the university was not initiated, the land must be returned to the State government, he added.
As per the norms for the construction of a Central undertaking university, the work was awarded to a private company from outside the State, he said adding that the company officials had visited the State recently and assured the government that they will commence construction with the compound fencing soon.
However, the officials have failed return to the State since then, he added.
Ibobi also said that the State government has already asked the Centre to start the classes of the university at the Kuman lampak Sports Complex which has enough facilities and 150 bedded hostels too.
Similarly, the State was also assured that RIMS will be upgraded to the status of AIIMS; however, here also nothing can be done without first passing an Act in the Parliament, he said.
The Chief Minister also appealed to the members of the House to shed all political differences and to visit the national capital together to urge the Prime Minister to expedite the process.