Patna: The Bihar centre of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) in Kishanganj, around 370 km northeast of Patna, has come in the crosshairs of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) after allegations surfaced that most of the 224 acres of land transferred to the university by the state government falls on the Mahananda riverbed and floodplains.
A man named Manjhi Parganas Abhen Baisi has filed a case raising allegations of environmental degradation at the green tribunal’s eastern zone bench in Calcutta. The bench has already sought reports from various agencies including the National Mission for Clean Ganga, and the district administration.
The case might snowball into a major embarrassment for chief minister Nitish Kumar as the land was transferred by the state government to the AMU Kishanganj Centre on his instructions in 2013 after the then UPA government conceptualised it for the socio-economic development of Muslims in the backward area of Bihar.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for the campus on January 30, 2014. The Bihar government provided land for the campus in 2013.
Kishanganj district magistrate Pankaj Dixit told The Telegraph that he has already submitted a report to the tribunal.
“We have inspected the concerned location on the directions of NGT eastern zone bench and submitted a detailed report and other related documents before it. The next hearing is on November 9,” Dixit said. “Farmers were tilling the land near the river, while construction work was already stopped due to non-availability of funds with the university centre.”
An inspection team of the Ganga mission has also recently inspected the site of the AMU centre. A source at the centre said the case alleges construction of boundary wall and embankment which could lead to the river, a tributary of the Ganga, change its course.
The petitioner has also alleged, sources said, that AMU Kishanganj Centre has been extracting minor minerals like sand and stone from Mahananda riverbed and riverbank in violation of the Supreme Court’s orders in similar cases, as well as sustainable sand mining management guidelines issued by the Union ministry for environment and forests in 2016.
When contacted, AMU public relations officer Omar Peerzada said from Aligarh: “The matter is sub-judice and no proper information is available with us. No copy of any report has been made available to us. There has been no intimation to the university from the NGT.”