The Madhya Pradesh cabinet, on Wednesday decided to waive off the land usage fee for the Bhopal centre of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU). The Hindu had broken the news on September 13, that the varsity was planning to shift to either Chhattisgarh or Rajasthan after failing to get a waiver on the land charges demanded by the MP government.

Popular for its affordable Bachelors in Education course priced at Rs. 4,000 per year, the centre is currently functioning from rented premises in the state capital. After a seven-year wait, the state had allotted 6.4 acres in Pipalneer, 12 km from the city for which the revenue department had declared a premium of Rs. 13.75 crores and an annual rent of Rs. 27.5 lakhs, in December 2012. The varsity, which has a total allocation of Rs. 120.55 crores in the XI plan for all its 13 campuses, had requested a waiver — similar to what other central institutes in MP had been granted.

Minister Laxmikant Sharma announced that the premium has been waived off and the annual rent would be a token Re. 1 per year.

MANUU's Regional Director Mohammed Ahsan thanked this paper for its coverage, saying that this step would open the doors of higher education to several Urdu educated students in Central India. "We are starting an Industrial Training Institute, for which rules stipulate that we need our own land. This will create a pool of technical specialists and bring employment to those for whom Urdu is the first language."

The government's appointment of Anthony JC De Sa as Chief Secretary and the land fee waiver, this week, are being seen as an attempt by the ruling BJP to project a secular image before assembly polls later this year.