The Vidyanagri campus of the University of Mumbai (MU) at Kalina, with its stretches of empty land interspersed with small academic buildings, could change if vice-chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh’s Rs3,000-crore construction plans are implemented.
The VC is preparing a master plan for large-scale construction on the campus, which will include high-rise buildings to house the various departments and hostels for thousands of students. He expects the plan to be approved by the management council — the university’s highest decision-making body — in four months.
The VC aims to develop one crore sq ft of floor space area the 243-acre campus.
“We have many small buildings occupying a large amount of land. We will use floor space index (FSI) available to the university and construct high-rises. Facilities like the auditorium can be shared among the departments,” he said. The plan comes at a time when a number of existing facilities — including Green Technology Building and Cultural Centre - are either lying unoccupied or are not being used optimally.
Deshmukh said that the expansion will also spur the growth of MU’s post-graduate departments in Vidyanagri. “There will be hostel facilities for 10,000 students,” he said.
The VC is banking on the alumni to fund the project. “My target is to at least raise the funds during my tenure,” he said.
Some fear that in the absence of long-term planning, the project may turn out to be another vanity project of the university.
“Unless the university has a clear plan, with good faculty and good research projects in place, donors won’t chip in,” said the head of a prominent higher education institute in the city.
Others are worried that Deshmukh is taking major decisions without consulting the stakeholders, only to see many of his plans fail to materialise.
“The development plan cannot be imposed on anyone. There seems to be no role for stakeholders in the VC’s plan. If the donations are not part of the budget, it will open up avenues for corruption,” said Rohini Sivabalan, president, Bombay University and College Teachers Union.