ISLAMABAD: Despite the passage of 32 years, a college established in Mera Begwal near Bhara Kahu has not opened its doors to students as successive governments never made any serious attempts to make it functional. However, local MNA Khurram Shahzad Nawaz of the PTI is now making efforts to make the college functional.
The residents have requested Prime Minister Imran Khan to look into the issue.
The college is located in the outskirts of Islamabad and during the last 32 years it saw only one development that was the renovation of its building in 2013-14 by a public sector university. Since then, the issue is lying unattended.
The locals and officials concerned said there was a polytechnic institute on Peshawar Road in Rawalpindi which was closed in 1977 after it became a venue for frequent protests. The officials said in a bid to stop constant protests on Peshawar Road, the then government closed the college and converted it into an EME college.
Letter has been written to education minister to start classes, says MNA
In 1985, the government decided to set up a new polytechnic college in Islamabad and the locals donated 232 kanals for the project.
The construction of the building was completed in 1989 but the college has been awaiting its inauguration till date.
In 2013, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) decided to start its classes there and also spent millions of rupees on the renovation of the building. Later, the AIOU, which had nothing to do with technical education, decided to distance itself from the project.
Recently, a meeting was held to discuss the fate of the college. The meeting was attended by MNAs Khurram Shahzad Nawaz, Ali Nawaz Awan, Parliamentary Sectary Education Wajiha Qamar and officials from the education department.
The participants said the building would be utilised for a technical as well as a model college. A portion of the building could also be utilised for a healthcare centre.
Sources said after the meeting MNA Khurram Nawaz wrote a letter to Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood for making the building functional. The letter dated Sept 9, available with Dawn, stated: “Your attention is invited to the restoration of building of Mera Begwal, which was built almost 30 years ago for offering technical education to the community, but the building remains abandoned and hopes of community could not be materialised.”
It said on the demand of the community, a meeting was held on August 31 to resolve the issue. The letter said it was decided in the meeting that the building will be made operational as a degree and technical college for boys.
The Federal Directorate of Education would ensure provision of teaching and other staff, equipment and minor repair and maintenance of the building.
“As the land donated by the community is 232 kanals, the extra land will be utilised for provision of health services for the community. For this purpose, a hospital of 200 beds will be constructed.”
The letter said it was decided that regular classes in the college would be started from March 2022 and August 2022.
“In this scenario, it is requested to please direct your team to expedite the process of repair and maintenance of the building and complete other necessary requirements as soon as possible so that admissions could be started according to the given times,” read the letter.
On the other hand, a local resident said in the past attempts were also made but to no avail.
“The prime minister should take notice of this issue. His only one directive could make the college functional,” he said.
When contacted, the MNA confirmed to Dawn that he had written a letter to the education minister, claiming that the issue was going to be resolved. During the recent meeting, it was decided that classes will be started next year, he added.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2021