By Dipak Ranjan
New Delhi, January 05: Pakistan is yet to pay its share of USD 5.10 lakh for the construction of the South Asian University (SAU) campus here, the Ministry of External Affairs has said in a written response submitted to a parliamentary committee.
A report by the parliamentary committee said that from 2010 to 2014, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka made their contribution in the operational cost of the first phase of construction of the varsity campus.
"Pakistan is yet to pay its share of USD 510,436," the report mentioned.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member nations had agreed to bear the operational cost of the construction of the SAU campus with a predetermined share of contribution.
According to the parliamentary report, the Government of India had notified 100-acre land for the SAU in Delhi's Maidan Garhi area in 2009, of which 93.68 acres was allotted for construction in September 2011. The MEA has the proprietary right to this land, it said.
The construction of the varsity campus in 4 packages began in 2015. The construction of its boundary wall and office was completed under package one, the report said.
In package two, five buildings were to be constructed in the campus and work on four of these was completed by September 30, 2019, it said.
The ongoing construction of a residential block in the SAU campus will only be completed by February 2020 as the work got delayed by 19 months due to legal hurdles, the report said.
Under package three, 61 per cent work was completed till September 30, 2019, and the construction of rest of the buildings under package 4 is yet to be completed as several issues related to acquisition and legalities are pending, it said.
The MEA told the committee that the delay in the project was mainly due to land encroachment, court cases, and a few objections from Delhi Jal Board, Municipal Corporation and Delhi Pollution Control Committee.
The parliamentary committee has asked the Union government to resolve the issues hindering the construction work.
According to the report, due to the slow pace of the construction work and deduction in the operational cost, the allocation estimate was reduced to Rs 246 crore.
The committee also expressed hope on the project, saying it believes the remaining work will be completed in a time-bound manner.