Senior PDP leader and former finance and education minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday vehemently supported the demand for establishment of a full-fledged university in Ladakh with its headquarter in Kargil.Bukhari said the Kashmir University’s satellite campus in Ladakh region is vibrant in district Kargil while as with almost similar infrastructural facilities available in Leh district, its out campus, remains almost deserted. Expressing serious concern over the declining enrolment in Ladakh colleges that has come down drastically due to the delay in examination and declaration of results, Bukhari observed that with no full-fledged university available in Ladakh, the students of the region are forced to leave their homes in pursuit of higher education. “The government under the new education policy in the country and the state is committed to provide quality education including higher education at the doorsteps of the students. But it is most unfortunate that the successive regimes in the center and the state failed to address this long pending demand of students of Ladakh,” he remarked, while adding that during his tenure as the education minister in J&K, to begin with, he had proposed establishment of three cluster universities for Pir Panchal region, Chenab Valley and Ladakh.
“Unfortunately with the breakdown of coalition government in the state, the proposal of establishing these cluster universities remained unexecuted. I call upon the governor led administration to pursue those proposals and get the requisite funding from the Ministry of Human Resources Development government of India for their early implementation,” he remarked. Bukhari said that any modern welfare state is committed for providing equal opportunities to its citizens regardless of the topography, language and ethnicity of its people. “Ladakhi students could be seen pursuing their higher studies outside the state like Chandigarh, Delhi or Punjab. While moving out from the state for higher learning is good but the government cannot shy away from its responsibility of providing institutions of higher studies to its students in all its regions of the state,” he added. He said that reportedly around 3,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students from Ladakh are forced to pursue higher studies outside the region because of the government’s failure to address their demand. “I think only a dedicated University could serve as a catalyst to bring a change in the educational scenario in Ladakh by turning its students into better human resources and productive regional workforce for capacity-building in the state,” he demanded.