Patna/New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday accused the Centre of taking a "unilateral" decision in setting up a central university in Gaya bypassing the state's request to locate it at Motihari, a contention dismissed by the HRD Ministry.
Reacting to Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal writing to him informing about a central university being set up at Gaya, Kumar told reporters in Patna, "We want the central university should come up in Motihari, considered as the workplace of Mahatma Gandhi, and for which the state government is ready to provide free land.
"We will not allow any forceful terms and conditions being laid down... It will deal a blow to people's sentiments in Bihar.... the Bihar government will never agree to the Centre's decision to set up central university in Gaya."
Sibal, in his letter to Kumar, said the land had been identified at Panchanpur near the Gaya international airport and recommended by a site selection committee.
While the formal transfer of land is to take place, I thought it fit to keep you apprised of these developments," Sibal wrote.
Later reacting to Kumar's criticism, the ministry said accessibility and good infrastructure were of prime requirement for promoting such universities into centre of excellence.
Dismissing Kumar's contention that separate yardstick was adopted in case of Bihar, Ministry officials in Delhi said Gaya was selected because it provided an idle location and close proximity to the airport enabling the Centre to start the university early.
To buttress their point, officials said the Ministry had also adopted a similar approach while identifying Ranchi in Jharkhand and Gandhinagar in Gujarat as idle locations to set up the new central varsities attracting quality faculty.