Teaching and non-teaching staff of Magadh University (MU) are contemplating to move the Patna high court to protest against a government decision to “gift” 118.28 acres of university land to the recently set up Indian Institute of Management at Bodh Gaya, about 110 km south of the state capital.
MU vice chancellor Qamar Ahsan told HT that the attempt to create a controversy over the matter was unfortunate. “The MU senate and syndicate have ratified the agreement to part with the land. The decision cannot be revoked,” he said.
Not convinced, the unions representing teachers and employees have decided to resist the process of land demarcation, initiated by the IIM.
“We plan to move the Patna high court against the move to part with the university land,” said Magadh University employees association general secretary Amarnath Pathak.
“The transfer of land to the IIM is illegal. The property was gifted to Magadh University by the mahant (religious superior) of Bodh Gaya math. A gifted property can never be gifted again to some other party,” he said.
The teachers association would support the employees union and fight with it jointly against the MU decision to the transfer land to IIM, its president Sunil Kumar Singh said.
Members of the teachers association said Patna University (PU) had also faced a similar situation when it was asked to give away a chunk of land for the proposed dolphin centre. Despite enormous pressure from different quarters, then PU vice chancellor YC Simhadri refused to hand over the land on the pretext that the university could use land only for its own projects and departments. “If the centre is opened under PU department, we can give land, but not for an autonomous institution,” he had then said.
IIM officials, however, feigned ignorance about the simmering controversy in the MU headquarters in the wake of the demarcation process that has started before raising boundary walls.
“There has been no dispute over the 118.28 acres of land transferred by the MU. The university has followed all the rules and also got approval of the syndicate and the senate before transferring the land to the B-school. It is now up to the state government to look into the technicalities,” assistant manager, IIM-Bodh Gaya, Alok John said.
The VC was more emphatic, saying, “It was government’s decision to provide MU land to IIM, which was seconded by MU senate and syndicate. The decision was also cleared by then vice chancellor Mohammed Ishtiaque. Nobody can change it now,” he said.
The IIM -Bodh Gaya is one of the six new Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) established as per the decision of the Union cabinet on June 24, 2015. It was launched on August 31 the same year. Mentored by IIM -Calcutta (the oldest in the country), it is, at present, functioning from the MU distance education department’s building.