India’s first sports university is to come up in Manipur. Why then was faculty recruitment for an outlying campus being planned in Uttar Pradesh?

India’s first national sports university – to be set up in Imphal for which the Union cabinet had approved an ordinance on May 23 and the President of India had given assent earlier this month – is already mired in allegations of favouritism.

Villagers from Manipur who have donated their land for the setting up of the sports university close to Imphal were shocked to learn that an outlying campus of the university had been planned in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stronghold, Uttar Pradesh, and even a date for faculty recruitment interview at the state’s capital, Lucknow, had been announced .

A walk-in interview for the outlying campus faculty was announced for June 11. Eventually, a voluntary organisation of villagers from Manipur, which is behind ensuring smooth implementation of the sports university, objected, prompting the Central government to “postpone” the Lucknow recruitment walk-in interview scheduled at Regional Centre, Sports Authority of India, Sarojini Nagar, Kanpur Road, Lucknow.

In a notice of May 9, the Central government announced a walk-in interview – for posts of professor, associate professor (sports journalism), professor, associate professor and assistant professor (sports management), professor and associate professor (sports performance analysis), and deputy registrar for an outlying campus of NSUS (National Sports University Society) at Lucknow to be held on June 11, 2018. In the same notice, interviews for some posts for Imphal too were announced for June 4, scheduled in New Delhi.

The notice mentioned that the National Sports University (NSU) will take some time to be set up, but till the time it is done, “to make the University functional, National Sports University Society (NSUS) has been registered under the Manipur Societies Registration Act, 1989, to function as an Academic Institution under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.”

The National Sports University Haraothen Protection Committee (NSUHPC) – which was formed by the villagers of Senjam Chirang, Senjam Khunou and Koutruk, have objected to recruitment from Lucknow at this stage.

The NSUHPC authorities say they don’t object to the setting up of any National Sports University branches across the country but they have appealed to the Central government that this should happen after the NSU Manipur campus becomes a “full fledged and fully functional sports university and is recognised under the University Grants Commission”.

“We felt very sorry if the people or sports persons of other states of India consider Manipur as far and located in a corner of India and therefore inconvenient to travel to for the course. They should understand that the players of Manipur and Northeast India also go and take training spending many months or years elsewhere,” said Alexander Singh, general secretary of the NSUHPC.

He said that sports in India cannot do well without the players of the Northeast. “Moreover, India will progress only when the whole of country is uniformly developed,” he said.

The university campus site near Imphal


S.P.S. Tomar, deputy secretary to the government of India in department of sports under the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry told The Bengal Story, “I am not aware why the interview was postponed. All I know is that the government has taken such a decision.”

Meanwhile, notices have also been issued by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for Bachelor of Physical Education & Sports (50 seats) a three year course, BSc in Sports Coaching (50 seats) a four year course, M.Sc. in Sports Coaching (30 seats) and Master of Arts in Sports Psychology (20 seats) for the 2018-19 session. According to Tomar, the government of Manipur has allotted space in the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal to conduct classes till the time the National Sports University campus comes up.

A 325.9 acre plot was donated to the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry by people from the three villages – Senjam Chirang, Senjam Khunou and Koutruk. In February this year, the minister of youth affairs and sports of Manipur, Letpao Haokip, had announced that the site of the National Sports University be known as Haraothen. This was decided after discussions with chiefs of Koutruk, Haroathen, Senjam Chirang and Senjam Khunou villages, from where land has been taken.

In fact, according to Alexander Singh, the Manipur government had even agreed to offer jobs to the people from these three villages who have donated their land for the setting up of the university.

Under this backdrop, faculty recruitment and starting an outlying campus in Lucknow has upset the people of Manipur, who feel let down that Northeast India is being neglected. According to Alexander Singh, a delegation from the voluntary organisation will soon meet the Union minister of state, Ministry of youth affairs and sports, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, to discuss the matter further.


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