The delay in exemption of land charges, may cost Madhya Pradesh its centre of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU). The national varsity, based in Hyderabad, has 13 regional and sub-regional centres. The Bhopal centre and its College of Teacher Education currently function from rented premises. Presently, there are 100 students enrolled in its B.Ed course -- perhaps the lowest priced in the country at Rs. 4000 per year.

Speaking exclusively to The Hindu, Regional Director Mohammed Ahsan explained that while the Indira Gandhi National Open University and the School of Planning and Architecture were given land within five months of applying, it has taken seven years for MANUU to get the same. All three are institutions under the union Ministry of Human Resource Development.

“We were allotted 6.4 acres in Pipalner (more than 12 km from Bhopal) in December 2012 on condition that we deposit Rs. 13.75 crores as premium and Rs. 27.5 lakhs as annual rent. This is not possible as the total allocation for MANUU (and all its campuses) in the 11th five-year-plan (which ended last year) is Rs. 120.55 crores,” he said.

The university has applied for a waiver, as has been granted to other central institutions in the state. Once the model code of conduct for assembly polls come into force -- in the next few weeks -- hopes of a campus will be shelved until the new government takes office.

“We have been assured of free land by the Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan governments. But shifting is not desirable as staff has already been recruited locally. However, if the impasse continues we have no option but to move. If we don’t, the plan amount (on which the university is on extension) will lapse,” Dr. Ahsan added.

Key points in MP CM Shivraj Chouhan’s campaign include the setting up of Hindi, Sanskrit and Buddhist universities during his tenure. MANUU however, slipped of his radar.

Principal Secretary (Revenue) R.K. Chaturvedi told this paper that central campuses are usually granted land and the file is being sent to the cabinet. He clarified: “As per the circular of February, 2006, Madhya Pradesh no longer gifts land to the Government of India. Why don’t they (MANUU) seek the budget from the Centre. If they can’t, the cabinet will consider a waiver. We have in the past gifted land to central institutes. But the truth is that no resource, including land, is infinite.”

A senior government source said that the last cabinet meeting of the incumbent government is expected to take place on September 17. It is unlikely that the MANUU file will find place on the agenda. However, the source added, “If the model code comes into force by month end then a second cabinet meeting can be squeezed in.”

The fate of MANUU, sought after by three poll bound states, hangs in this balance.