The revived Nalanda University, an international centre of learning coming up in Bihar, will be launching operations from later this year.

The first batch of students, faculty and staff would move by February-end to Rajgir, about 100 km from Patna, adjacent to where the sprawling international university is set to come up.

“We are taking hotels nearby, exploring all options,” an official source told IANS.

Nalanda University presently has 40 students or Nalanda fellows. Along with the faculty and staff, they would operate out of the temporary campus till the actual structure comes up. “The Bihar government has offered us the use of its Health Department office. The Bihar Chief Minister [Nitish Kumar] is personally monitoring the project,” the source added.

The University, an initiative of the Indian government and the 18 East Asia Summit (EAS) countries, is coming up around 12 km from the ruins of its ancient namesake that was flocked by thousands of scholars and thinkers from across the world till the 12th century. It was then destroyed by an invading Turkish army of Bakhtiyar Khilji, a general of Qutbuddin Aibak. It was set on fire by the invaders and the blaze in the huge library is believed to have raged for several days.

A boundary wall, around eight km, marks the 446-acre campus where the modern centre of excellence would come up. The residential university, due to be completed by 2020, would have seven schools — all for postgraduate and doctorate students.

The University has Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as its chairperson. The first batch of students would be enrolled for two post-graduate programmes in history and ecology and environmental studies. Last May, the Nalanda board had approved the architectural plan of the proposed university. “The government is fast-tracking the university,” said the source. The Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill 2013 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on September 5, 2013, by the External Affairs Ministry and was referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee. The Committee’s report was tabled in the Rajya Sabha during the December winter session of Parliament.

The Department of Expenditure has cleared the Rs. 2,700 crore cost for the University to be spent over 10 years. The approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs is now being sought.

The architectural design approved for the new university has proposed a massive lake at the centre of the campus. The library, a huge dome-shaped structure, would come up in the middle of the lake and be half-submerged.

China has already committed $1 million for the project, Singapore has pledged $5-6 million and Australia about $1 million Australian dollars. All the funds have been committed on a voluntary basis. — IANS

  • The first batch of students would be enrolled for post-graduate programmes in history and ecology and environmental studies

  • The Department of Expenditure has cleared Rs. 2,700 crore to be spent over 10 years