New Delhi: Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, Government of India, visited the new campus of the South Asian University in Maidan Garhi to take stock of the developments. Rudrendra Tandon, Additional Secretary, BIMSTEC and SAARC, Government of India, was also present during the campus visit. The Minister interacted with the university officials led by Prof. Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, Acting President, SAU. A detailed presentation was made to the Minister on various aspects of the campus. Later, the university officials took him round the buildings and facilities. The Minister appreciated the way the campus has developed, and especially mentioned about following the green building norms and zero wastage on rain water harvesting.

The University has initiated the shifting activities from its current Akbar Bhawan campus in Chanakyapuri to this new 100 acre campus, after it received the occupancy certificate last month. The university is starting its formal functioning from the new campus beginning the upcoming semester.

After the Inter-Government Agreement for the establishment of the South Asian University was signed at the 14th SAARC Summit in 2008, the South Asian University Act 2008 was passed by the Indian Parliament, and the  University started its first academic session in August 2010 from the Old JNU Campus and shifted to the Akbar Bhawan campus the following year. In 2009, the Government of India allotted a 100 acre plot of land in Maidan Garhi, New Delhi for establishing the permanent Campus. It also provides the funding for the capital establishment of the university, including the campus construction.

The construction of the new SAU campus was carried out under three packages wherein under Package-I, boundary walls were constructed at a cost of INR 2.19 crore in January 2016. The first set of five buildings was taken up under Package-II with a tendered value INR 401.58 crore in June 2016 while seven other buildings and facilities for other services such as water supply, sewers, roads, electricity and utility buildings were taken up under Package-III with a tendered value of INR 588.38 crore.

It may be mentioned that the new campus has bagged the much coveted and highest “Five Star” Griha Rating for its efforts to conserve the environment during the construction and operation stages of the project. The certification is based on a variety of environment-friendly practices followed regarding Site Planning, Water Strategy, Energy Efficiency, Waste Handling Strategy, Social Impact and Transportation Planning.

The university will soon be announcing admission to induct its 14th batch of students. The student composition in this international university comprises scholars from the eight member nations of the SAARC, about half of which come from India while the remaining half are from the rest of the SAARC countries.