Locals oppose allotment of intermediate college land for engineering college in Pithoragarh
Pithoragarh, July 12
Pithoragarh Zila panchayat chairperson Deepika Bohra, local MLA Mayukh Singh Mahar along with over 15 village panchayats of surrounding area have requested the state government not to give land that belongs to Krishna Nand Upreti Intermediate college, near Pithoragarh town, to construct campus of Seemant engineering college as the the engineering college already has land allocated in its name in Maddhura village.
The intermediate collage is in the name of leading freedom fighter of the district, Krishna Nand Upreti, who alone with his efforts collected a sum of Rs. 6000 from the businessmen working in towns of the then Burma (Now Myanmar) to construct the first high school of the area.
“K.N. Upreti , alone with other volunteers, established the first high school of the district by taking land from local villagers and collected money from businessmen and workers of the district settled in Burma,” said Rajesh Mohan Upreti, grand son of K.N Upreti.
The move to house Seemant engineering college in the campus is being seen as an attempt to dilute the memory and contribution of leading Gandhian freedom fighter of the district.”It is an attempt to erase the memory of the freedom fighting who was not only a leading figure in Gandhian movements in the region but also a social worker,” said Rajesh Mohan Upreti, grandson of the freedom fighter and man behind protest.
According to Ashok Kumar Jukria, chief education officer of the district, a proposal of taking away 2.15 acres of land out of a total 9.25 acres of land belonging to the college, to construct a campus of the engineering college, has been sent to government by District Magistrate, Pithoragarh for approval. ” The approval from government is awaited, “said the CEO.
According to the villagers who are protesting the move to give land to Seemant engineering college, the government has already sanctioned a total of 4.2 hectares of land for construction of engineering college campus at Maddhura village where a large sum of money has already have been spent.”It will be misuse of government money if the amount for construction of campus of engineering college is sanctioned for KN Upreti campus again,” said Janardan Upreti a villager from Hureti village who has put his signature in the protest letter.
The district administration argue that since the Maddhura village is situated in a jungle 5 km away from the town, it will not be feasible for students specially girls to go to such a place in the hills .
“The proposal of housing the engineering college near the suitable place in town was also flouted by guardians of the students,” said Ashish Chauhan, District Magistrate, Pithoragarh.
According to records available with the college, the college, opened as Pithoragarh high school in the year 1926, was named as King George 6th Coronation High School, Pithoragarh in the year 1937.”The privately opened high school used to be managed by SDM and a management committee of elite citizens,” said Padma Datt Pant, a retired teacher from the college.
According to Pant, the college was made as government high school in the year 1945 and turned as Intermediate college in the year 1951.It was first high school as well as first intermediate college of the district.
Govind Sing Pokhara, presently principal of the college said that even if 2.5 acres of land is given to the engineering college, it will have no effect on the infrastructure of the college as sufficient land will still remain with the college.”They are taking the portion of land that is of no use for us even today, “said pokhara.
Uttarakhand leader of opposition in the state assembly, Yashpal Arya has written to Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami that as the land belongs to the college and is related with a leading freedom fighter, it should not he transferred to other institutes.
Subodh Uniyal, technical education minister of the state has said in the second session of state assembly of 2022, answering to a query of Pithoragarh MLA Mayukh Singh Mahar that the decision on the matter will be taken after assessing the report of Pithoragarh DM and suggestions given by local people in this regard.