Construction of more hostels in Jawaharlal Nehru University, an issue raised by many student unions, remained a challenge despite having requisite funds, said outgoing Vice Chancellor S K Sopory on Monday.

Sopory, who demits office on January 27, said that he had a "pleasant" tenure with majority of the things on his "to-do-list" got struck off, except the hostel accommodation.

"We had funds since two years but I haven’t been able to get permission for construction for over 20 months now, despite all the support I got from LG, DDA etc, the plan has got stuck again with the Ministry of Environment and Forests," he said during a media interaction here.

"Initially we had asked for cutting of trees which is a normal thing, they kept on saying it comes under different ridge areas and then we were told to go to Ridge Management Board which comes under Chief Secretary. The board I understand had a meeting two months back during which the proposal was cleared but the university hasn’t got any communication," he added.

According to the Vice Chancellor, construction of a new hostel was sanctioned by UGC under its 12th plan and Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (DONER) gave funding for a separate hostel for north-east students, but the projects never took off.

"Besides these two hostels, a plan for a new academic building was approved to house the department of biotechnology and nano technology, but even that is pending.

"We have money but this is one sad state…I had never thought that the government will take so much time to decide…it was not a very great experience for me despite trying so much," he said.

Confessing that his five-year long tenure saw six student hunger strikes, Sopory noted that students union, in any institution, played a very important role and he encourages that as long as the academic activities do not suffer.