Space for learning or living?
BIG-debate: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement regarding construction of houses for poor on 11 acres of land belonging to Osmania University has triggered a row, with students and academics condemning the move. Many of them say there is no need to divert the university land for the housing project. In this backdrop, Metro India reporters Jaya Vellampalli and Palli Durga Sindhuja interacted with a cross-section of the people to know their opinions on whether universities really require huge extent of land and whether the State government is justified in seeking OU land for the housing project.
UNIVERSITIES AND LAND
-Harvard university is spread over 5,083 acres
-Stanford University is spread over 8,180 contiguous acres in six governmental jurisdictions with 700 major buildings
-Delhi University is spread across 69 acres
-Mumbai University has two campuses of areas 243 acres and 14 acres at Vidyanagari and Fort respectively; sub-campuses/centers at Ratnagiri 20 acres, Thane 6.50 acres and Kalyan 6.26 acres with 56 University Departments & Institutes.
-Osmania university has a campus of nearly 1400 acres
-University of Hyderabad is spread over 3000 acres
In November 2014, following issues over non-availability of land as per central norms for setting up new central universities and institutes, a decision was taken to review the land requirement policy.
Currently the land requirement to set up an IIIT is 100 acres. Likewise, it is 200 acres for IIM and IISER; 300 acres for NIT; and 500 acres for IITs and central universities. This is as per norms determined a long ago when land was available in abundance. However, with the burgeoning population and consequent expansion of cities, land has increasingly become a scarce commodity.
A high-level committee is now studying the land utilisation of the existing central institutions, even international universities and their land use so as to suggest revised land requirements for various types of institutions in this age. According to States, due to differing situation with regard to land availability in rural and urban areas, the existing blanket rule for all locations needs to be changed. Therefore, the panel is expected to take into account the topography, class of city/ town and related factors as well.
We welcome the move
We welcome Chief Minister KCR’s move to construct residential complex for the poor people as they are the people who have been serving the university for a very long time. These people have been living on these lands for a very long time and it is a positive move that they are now getting their share of justice for serving the university for many years. These complexes will not destroy or disturb the environment of the university as these people deserve to get them as they have been associated with the university for decades now. It is good that the State government has finally taken a decision to settle them within the premises.
Balraj, OU Student leader
It is outrageous
The government snatching away university lands is outrageous. First we see the AP CM taking away fertile lands in the name of land pooling; now we see the Telangana CM taking away university and that too for residential purposes. This statement of taking the university lands will be met with anger from the students. What kind of representatives have we chosen for ourselves? Who is doing the follow-up on what are these lands being used for?
Y Kiran, Student of UoH
university lands should not be used
University lands should not be used for residential purpose. There are already so many acres of lands which have been taken illegally by the occupants and we are still fighting those cases. I agree that Chief Minister KCR has great intentions to provide houses for poor people, but I think it should not be at the cost of university environment. Bringing in residential complexes inside the university will surely disturb the environment and also disturb the students. I think universities are given so much of land as they would need it for expansion.
Prof. Ravande Kishore, Director (Estate Cell)
Tomorrow it will be hospital lands
The two most important things for development in a State are education and healthcare. The government is trying to take away land from one the most important sectors of development of the State. It is all a question of common sense. The Chief Minister should not have made such a statement. University lands should be only used for educational purposes and the government has no right to use them.
Y Deepak,Student of OU
there will always be expansion
I think the universities will surely need huge extent of land as there will always be expansion and addition of new departments. In the first place, the universities are given huge tracts of land so that students can be provided with peaceful environment to study. It is very unfair to use these lands for residential purpose as it would cause a lot of disturbance to the environment. I think university lands should be used only for educational purposes as they are nerve-centres for producing intellectuals. It is the right of universities to have huge tracts of land at their disposal.
Binny Vincent, President of the UoH Students Union
Only for education
University lands should not be used for any purpose other than education. It is very sad that the State government has decided to use university lands for residential purpose as it would destroy the essence of the university. A university is a place where students come to learn and the environment should be according to it. It should be calm and serene for the students to learn and develop as individuals. There have been many instances where Chief Minister KCR has spoken about the illegal occupancy on the university lands and now how can he talk about constructing houses on those lands. I think as Chief Minister it is his duty to protect those lands. There are many other lands which can be used for construction of houses.
Satish, Telangana Vidyarthi Nirudyoga JAC
students are not at all happy
Students are not at all happy with the decision taken by Chief Minister K Chandrasekar Rao. University lands should be used only for educational purposes, and not for other activities. Osmania University is one of the biggest universities in the country and as a Chief Minister it is his duty to protect these lands from being occupied. There are several acres of land which have already been used for many illegal activities and already most of land has been given on lease to many people. KCR must drop the decision to construct residential complexes on these lands as it is not the right place to build them.
J Kalyan, Student leader
More land should be given
The State government should be investing more in the universities, instead of taking lands away from them. The Chief Minister wants to make the State Golden Telangana and by this decision it feels like he is heading into a wrong direction. The agitations by the students are happening because they are not able to completely understand the reason behind this. The decision needs to be withdrawn or justified clearly .
Why university lands?
The question everyone seems to be asking these days is: Why university lands? Is KCR not able to find any other land for residential purposes? When compared to national universities, OU needs more land and investments to make it bigger and better. The actions of the students are justified. They are just reacting to the insensitivity of the government.
S Soumya, Student